NY appellate judge blocks order to revoke Trump's business certificates, dissolve assets, but allows civil fraud trial to continue

 October 8, 2023

Former President Donald Trump and his attorneys scored a partial yet substantial victory this week in the ongoing New York civil fraud trial presided over by Judge Arthur Engoron that stems from a $250 million civil fraud lawsuit pushed by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

An appellate court judge agreed Friday to a request from Trump's attorneys to temporarily block an order from Engoron for the former president's business certificates to be revoked and elements of his real estate empire to be dissolved, CNN reported.

However, the judge rejected a broader request from Trump's attorneys to indefinitely pause the entire trial altogether.

Order enforcement stayed but trial will proceed

At issue here was an emergency appeal against a pretrial summary judgment issued last month by Judge Engoron which found former President Trump and others liable for fraud, and as such, ordered the immediate revocation of all business certificates and the appointment of a monitor to oversee the dissolution of at least some of Trump's assets and properties in New York and elsewhere.

In light of that stunning decision before the actual trial even began, Trump's attorneys turned to the state's Appellate Division and asked for an "interim stay" of Engoron's summary judgment as well as an "interim stay of trial pending appeal" to pause the proceedings while everything is sorted out.

In response to those requests, Associate Justice Peter Moulton wrote, "Defendants' application for an interim stay of enforcement of Supreme Court's decisions dated September 26 and October 4, 2023, and for a stay of trial, is granted solely to the extent of staying enforcement of Supreme Court's order directing the cancellation of business certificates."

"The interim application is denied in all other respects," the judge added. In other words, the trial will continue to proceed but the state may not move forward -- at least not yet -- with the revocation of Trump's business certificates and dissolution of his assets and properties.

Enforcement of Engoron's order would harm uninvolved employees

According to The Messenger, the main argument put forward by former President Trump's attorneys in the application for a stay was that Judge Engoron's ruling with respect to the business certificates and dissolution would cause "irreparable harm" to not just the defendants but also the uninvolved individuals who were employed by them.

If allowed to be enforced, Engoron's decision would "unquestionably inflict severe and irreparable harm not only to Appellants but to innocent nonparties and employees who depend on the affected entities for their livelihoods," the attorneys argued.

"Terminating non-party business licenses without jurisdiction, without process, without statutory authority, without trial, and without reason renders impossible the lawful operation of multiple businesses and threatens termination of hundreds of New York employees without any jurisdiction or due process," they added.

Both sides claim victory in appellate ruling

Following Judge Moulton's decision, per The Messenger, Trump's attorney Chris Kise said in a statement, "We are very pleased the First Department upheld New York law and put a halt to any cancellation of business certificates, receivers or dissolution. The trial court’s attempt to reach issues, entities, and assets beyond the scope of this case has been suspended."

Of course, New York AG James saw things differently and cheered what she viewed as a victory of her own in that the appellate judge had rejected yet another "delay tactic" by the former president's legal team.

"Once again, Donald Trump’s attempts to delay this trial have been rejected," James said in a statement. "Yet another court denied his efforts to evade justice for his years of fraud. But Donald Trump lives in a fantasy world where money grows on trees and facts don’t matter."

She added, "Unsurprisingly, he is twisting this ruling and falsely claiming victory for a resolution we proposed. The truth is simple: a judge ruled that he committed repeated and persistent fraud, and we will continue to demonstrate that in court."

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