NEW YORK, Sept 28 (Reuters) – A New York appeals court on Thursday refused to delay Donald Trump’s scheduled Oct. 2 civil fraud trial, after the former U.S. president accused the trial judge of wrongly refusing to throw out most of the case.
In a brief order, a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division, a mid-level appeals court in Manhattan, denied Trump’s motion to postpone the trial.
It also lifted a Sept. 14 order by Justice David Friedman to put the trial on hold while it considered Trump’s motion. Friedman was part of Thursday’s panel.
The panel ruled two days after state court Justice Arthur Engoron found that Trump and his family business persistently and fraudulently overvalued his assets and net worth in order to obtain better terms on loans and insurance.
Trump had been sued in September 2022 by state Attorney General Letitia James, who accused him, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others of “staggering fraud” in how they valued properties.
James is seeking at least $250 million in penalties, a ban against Trump and his sons Donald Jr and Eric from running businesses in New York, and a five-year commercial real estate ban against Trump and the Trump Organization.
Lawyers for Trump and the other defendants were not immediately available for comment. James’ office had no immediate comment.
The case is unrelated to the four criminal indictments that Trump faces, including for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all, and cast litigation against him as part of a politically-motivated, Democratic witch hunt as he seeks a return to the White House. James is a Democrat.
Despite his legal woes, Trump holds a commanding lead for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump sued Engoron on Sept. 14, seeking to delay the trial and accusing him of ignoring a June ruling from the appeals court that, according to Trump, required gutting James’ case because many of her claims were too old.
Engoron’s decision on Tuesday showed that he believed the appeals court ruling had little effect on James’ case.
The judge said the defendants were living in “a fantasy world, not the real world,” as they made up valuations for properties including Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida and Trump Tower penthouse in Manhattan.
Engoron found “conclusive evidence” that Trump had overstated his fortune by as much as $2.2 billion.
He also ordered the cancellation of certificates that let some of Trump’s businesses operate.
This could force Trump to cede control to a receiver of properties including Manhattan’s Trump Tower, a Wall Street office building, golf courses and his family estate in suburban Westchester County, New York.
Late on Wednesday night, the attorney general’s office and defense lawyers disclosed lists of witnesses, potentially numbering well over 100, who may be called to testify.
Donald Trump and his adult sons appear on both lists, as do former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and controller Jeffrey McConney.
The attorney general’s list also includes Trump’s onetime personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who has turned against his former boss, and Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who the appeals court dismissed as a defendant in June.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Bill Berkrot