An appeals court Thursday rejected Donald Trump’s bid to delay a civil trial in a lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general, allowing the case to proceed days after a judge ruled the former president committed years of fraud and stripped him of some companies as punishment, according to the Associated Press. The decision, by the state’s intermediate appellate court, allows Judge Arthur Engoron to preside over a non-jury trial starting Monday in Manhattan in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil lawsuit. The fraud ruling Tuesday threatens to upend his real estate empire and force him to give up prized New York properties such as Trump Tower, a Wall Street office building, golf courses, and a suburban estate. Trump has denied wrongdoing, arguing that some of his assets are worth far more than what’s listed on annual financial statements that Engoron said he used to secure loans and make deals. Trump has argued that the statements have disclaimers that absolve him of liability. His lawyers have said they would appeal.
Trump’s lawyers sued Engoron on Sept. 14, accusing him of ignoring the law and hindering their preparations by failing to comply with a June appeals court order that narrows the scope of the trial based on the statute of limitations. They filed the lawsuit under a provision known as Article 78, which allows challenges to some judicial decisions, and asked that the trial be postponed until that matter was resolved. An appeals court judge, David Friedman, granted an interim stay of the trial while the full appeals court considered the lawsuit on an expedited basis. Thursday’s ruling lifted the stay, allowing the trial to proceed as scheduled. Engoron, ruling Tuesday in a phase of the case known as summary judgment, found that Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, defrauded banks, insurers, and others with annual financial statements that massively overvalued his assets and exaggerated his wealth. Engoron ordered some of Trump’s companies removed from his control and dissolved. In a letter to the appeals court, Trump’s lawyers said Engoron’s 35-page decision showed he remained intent on defying the appeals court by ignoring the statute of limitations issue. James’ office argued Trump’s lawsuit against Engoron was a “brazen and meritless attempt” to usurp his authority and that any delay “would likely wreak havoc on the trial schedule” and could cause conflicts with Trump’s four pending criminal cases.