New York attorney general wants Trump Organization to go on trial next year

Former President Donald Trump, three of his children, and his company, the Trump Organization, could face a civil trial for fraud allegations as soon as next year if a court approves an “expedited” timeline sought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

A lawyer in the attorney general’s office made the request in a filing Thursday, saying that because the lawsuit against the Trumps and their company “involves allegations of an ongoing scheme … it is imperative that this case proceed quickly.”

James announced the lawsuit on Sept. 21, accusing Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and other company executives of a yearslong scheme to falsely inflate the values of a wide swath of properties across their international real estate empire.

An attorney for Trump did not respond to a request for comment, nor did an attorney for Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. Ivanka Trump does not yet have an attorney on record in the case.

The complaint accuses the company of more than 200 instances of false asset valuations, described as being derived from “objectively false assumptions and blatantly improper methodologies with the intent and purpose of falsely and fraudulently inflating Mr. Trump’s net worth to obtain beneficial financial terms from lenders and insurers.”

The lawsuit seeks $250 million for the state and the revocation of the Trump Organization’s business certificate, which would effectively bar it from doing business in New York. The suit also asks a judge to permanently ban Trump and his children named in the suit from serving as officer or director of any business in New York, including their family’s company, and seeks a five-year ban on them acquiring real estate in New York or applying for loans from any New York-based company.

In requesting the speedy turnaround for the trial date, the attorney general’s senior enforcement counsel Kevin Wallace cited the “extensive litigation” that preceded the filing of the lawsuit.

The three-year investigation was handled as a “special proceeding” in which a New York judge presided over a lengthy series of contentious disputes about subpoenas and other issues in often public filings and hearings.

An attorney for Trump, Alina Habba, moved this week to have the case reassigned to a different judge in the state’s Commercial Division, while Wallace argued in filings that the judge from the “special proceeding,” Arthur Engoron, is best suited to oversee the lawsuit.

Wallace wrote that it would be inefficient to ask a new judge to “to develop the level of familiarity Justice Engoron already has developed over several years” reviewing “thousands of documents” in the case.

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