Trump bid to delay $250 million New York fraud trial is 'completely without merit,' judge says

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks on as he attends the ALGOP Summer Meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, Aug. 4, 2023.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

A New York judge on Wednesday rejected Donald Trump’s request to delay his sweeping civil fraud trial, calling the former president’s request “completely without merit.”

One day earlier, attorneys for Trump, his two adult sons and his businesses had asked the judge to stay the case until three weeks after he has ruled on competing motions for summary judgement. The trial is currently scheduled to begin Oct. 2.

New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron promptly smacked down their request.

“Decline to sign,” Engoron wrote in a brief, handwritten note at the bottom of Trump’s proposed order for a stay. “Defendants’ arguments are completely without merit.”

The order keeps the case on track to become Trump’s first trial since he left the White House in 2021. The former president faces numerous other major legal challenges, including four separate criminal cases, as he campaigns for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in damages in the civil case, which accuses Trump and his co-defendants of submitting years of fraudulent financial statements to get better tax benefits and loan terms for the Trump Organization.

Engoron’s rebuke came one day after James asked the judge to sanction Trump and others in the case for repeatedly putting forward the same failed legal arguments.

James asked the judge to issue a combined $10,000 fine to all the defendants, and another collective fine of $10,000 on their lawyers.

Late last month, James asked Engoron to grant partial summary judgment against Trump, pointing to what she called a “mountain of undisputed evidence” backing up her allegations.

James in that court filing alleged that Trump’s true net worth was much lower than what he claimed each year over the course of a decade, a difference that translated to “$1 billion or more in all but one year,” she said.

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