Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Trump Appeals $454M Judgement in N.Y. Lawfare Attack

Engoron's court promoted 'errors of law and/or fact, abused its discretion, and/or acted in excess of its jurisdiction...'

(Former President Donald Trump has appealed his $454 million New York civil fraud judgment, challenging a judge’s ruling that the GOP presidential front-runner lied about the value of his real-estate empire.

Trump’s lawyers filed a notice of appeal on Monday asking a state appeals court to overturn Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling in a lawfare attack brought in 2022 by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

In a court filing, Trump’s legal team said they were appealing the judgment and accused Engoron of “errors of law and/or fact.

They argued that the court “abused its discretion, and/or acted in excess of its jurisdiction” likely in reference both to Engoron’s arbitrary assessment of property values to predetermine Trump’s guilt and in his excessive financial penalty—a violation of the 8th Amendment under the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits excessive fines.

During the trial, Trump’s lawyers argued that the statute of limitations prohibits the allegations and that Engoron failed to comply with an Appellate Division ruling last year ordering him to narrow the scope of the trial. He has also accused the judge of being biased against him and that he has abused his authority.

In a ruling issued in September, Engoron found that Trump, his company, and top executives—including his two eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump—deceived banks and insurers by inflating the value of his family’s wealth on financial statements used to secure loans.

Engoron ordered Trump to pay $355 million in penalties, which, with interest, has grown to nearly $454 million. That fine will increase by nearly $112,000 daily until he pays.

The ruling also stipulates that the former president’s sons can’t serve as officers or directors of any New York corporation for two years. The judge also fined Trump’s sons $4 million each.

Trump’s lawyers argued in court filings that he was worth several billion dollars, in addition to properties and other investments. James, a Democrat, has said she will seek to seize some of his assets if Trump doesn’t pay the fines.

The civil case is one of Trump’s many legal challenges as he continues his march to the GOP presidential nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden in November.

He has been indicted on four different criminal charges, including a plot to overturn his 2020 presidential election and keeping classified documents at his Florida home.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, claiming the indictments are part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” to keep him off the ballot. He has described Engoron’s decision as “election interference” and accused him of “weaponization against a political opponent.”

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