Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday lost his bid to dodge a New York judge he called “unbelievably unfair.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James last month filed a $250 million lawsuitTrump’s three adult children and his business were accused of conspiring against him. decade-long fraud schemeAfter a three year investigation. Throughout the three-year investigation, Trump and James have been at odds in court. Trump and his children tried to avoid interviewing investigators and requesting records. At one point, Judge Arthur Engoron heard matters related to probe. fined Trump $110,000Trump was angered that he had defied his order not to sit for a deposition. complain that “we have a judge that frankly has been unbelievably unfair.”
“We’ve given millions and millions of pages and he says give more, give more, always give more,” Trump protested in May.
Trump finally relented, and sat for deposition. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right nearly. 450 times.
After James filed her lawsuit last month, Trump requested that the case be transferred from Engoron’s court to the court’s Commercial Division. An administrative judge denied his motion on Wednesday. The case will therefore remain before Engoron. Bloomberg News.
The ruling leaves Engoron, “who is already VERY knowledgeable about the alleged years-long fraud, in place to hear the NYAG’s motion to enjoin the Trump Org. from moving material assets,” tweeted NBC News legal analyst Lisa Rubin.
James had asked the court to keep the case before Engoron as a “related matter” and last week filed a motion for a preliminary injunctionTo stop the Trump Organization transferring assets.
James revealed in the filing that the Trump Organization had registered a new company called “Trump Organization II LLC”In Delaware the same day she filed the lawsuit.
“Beyond just the continuation of its prior fraud, the Trump Organization now appears to be taking steps to restructure its business to avoid existing responsibilities under New York law,” the filing said.
Trump attorney Alina Habba lashed out over the motion, calling it “nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to keep this case with Justice Engoron rather than have it transferred to the Commercial Division where it belongs.”
Habba has been in conflict with Engoron at court numerous times. Habba in February pushed Trump’s claims that James was biased against him in court, interrupting the judge and drawing a rebuke from his clerk, Allison Greenfield.
“When the judge speaks, you need to stop speaking,” Greenfield repeatedly told Habba, according to Insider.
Engoron ordered Trump and his adult children eventually to comply with subpoenas.
“The target of a hybrid civil/criminal investigation cannot use the Fifth Amendment as both sword and a shield; a shield against questions and a sword against the investigation itself,” he wrote.
James returned to court to hold Trump in contempt after Trump refused to comply with the subpoena. Habba during a May hearing complained about the judge’s rulings in the case.
“If you would like a bunch of more affidavits, you can order that,” Habba snapped. “You can order anything you like.”
Engoron held Trump contemptuous and once fined him $10,000 per hour for refusing to comply.
“I don’t understand why we are still in contempt,” Habba complainedAfter Engoron refused lifting the order, a hearing was held in June. Trump did not fully turn over the documents. “I think the opinion is based on who my client is,” Habba claimed, “and that’s concerning to me.”
Trump and Habba repeatedly claimed that he was the victim of political discrimination.
“There’s no viewpoint discrimination,” Engoron said during a hearing in February after Habba claimed James had “disdain” for Trump and argued that he was a member of a “protected class.”
“What protected class is he a member of?” the judge pressed.
“His political speech,” Habba replied. “If he was not sitting as a Republican and was not a former president who might run again, this would not be happening. So she is discriminating against him for that.”
Engoron pointed out that protected classes include race and gender, as well as religion.
“Donald Trump doesn’t fit that model. He’s not being discriminated against based on race, is he? Or his religion. He’s not a protected class,” Engoron said. “If Ms. James has a thing against him, OK, that’s not in my understanding [of] unlawful discrimination. He’s just a bad guy she should go after as the chief law enforcement officer of the state.”