Appeals Court Upholds New York Judge's Finding Of Trump Financial Fraud

Letitia James

Letitia James

Former President Donald Trump was dealt a major blow by the New York Court of Appeals on Thursday in the midst of his ongoing civil fraud trial in the Empire State.

On Thursday afternoon, MSNBC legal reporter Lisa Rubin tweeted that appellate judges denied Trump's request to stay (or halt) Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling in favor of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who won a summary judgment in September in her initial claim that Trump committed "pervasive, widespread fraud in financial statements." She linked to a copy of the appellate judges' ruling in the initial post.

"What that means practically is that the provisions of the below order are enforceable and that if [independent financial monitor Judge Barbara Jones] is the agreed-upon receiver, Trump and his co-defendants owe her a bunch of information and advanced notice about their ownership structure and future activity," Rubin added in a separate tweet, which showed a screenshot of an October order from Judge Engoron.

In September, the Associated Press reported that Judge Engoron ruled that Trump "committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House." That summary judgment order also ordered that the former president's business licenses in New York be suspended, meaning he would no longer have the legal ability to make decisions on behalf of his businesses anywhere in the state. While Thursday's appellate court ruling upheld Engoron's conclusion that Trump committed fraud, it halted his order suspending Trump's standing as a corporate officer in New York-based businesses.

The ex-president's civil fraud trial may end prior to the Christmas holidays, as both he and his immediate family have already been compelled to testify in the case. Attorney General James is seeking $250 million in financial penalties, and she may still ultimately prevail in her goal of stripping Trump of his ability to do business in New York depending on the final verdict.

Lawyers representing Trump in his New York civil fraud trial have recently tried for a third time to get Engoron to issue a "directed verdict," arguing that the state has failed to bring compelling evidence to justify the allegations against him. A retired New York judge told the Daily Beast that the motion for a directed verdict was akin to a "hail Mary pass," and that she couldn't recall a single instance in which she issued a directed verdict at the defendant's request in her 35 years on the bench.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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