NEW YORK — Former president Donald Trump won a temporary respite yesterday in his civil fraud lawsuit when a New York court granted a delay in cancelling his licences to operate his businesses in the state.
The billionaire, the favourite for the Republican nomination in next year’s presidential race, filed an appeal on Wednesday to halt his trial before the New York court.
The hearings, held without a jury but with Trump in attendance, began on Monday following a surprise ruling from Judge Arthur Engoron late last month that there had been repeated fraud by the Trump Organisation, and ordering the cancelation of the business licence of Trump and his two grown sons Don Jr and Eric.
In a ruling from an appeals court in New York yesterday, judge Peter Moulton refused to suspend the trial but ruled that a stay was granted on the “order directing the cancellation of business certificates.”
The ruling marked a temporary win for the ex-president, who faces a partial dismantling of his real estate empire after Judge Engoron’s September decision.
The appeals judge yesterday heard arguments by Trump’s lawyers and by attorneys for the plaintiff, New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is seeking a US$250 million judgment against Trump, accused of fraudulent business filings.
“This is everything owned or controlled by the defendant. Once you dissolve, you dissolve,” argued Trump lawyer Christopher Kise, according to ABC News in the courtroom. “It’s chaos. It’s chaos right now.”
James’ representative, Judy Vale, argued that “there’s just absolutely no basis for an interim stay of trial that’s already been going on for a week.”
Trump spent nearly three days in the Manhattan court this week, in the courtroom itself and in the hallways, talking with the press.
James shot back Wednesday by calling his court appearance “nothing more than a political stunt, a fundraising stop.”
He in turn called the African American attorney general, who is a Democrat, “corrupt” and “racist.”
She reaffirmed that “justice will prevail” when the trial resumes on Tuesday. — AFP