Attorneys for former President Donald Trump formally appealed the preemptive ruling of a New York judge that he and his Trump Organization were guilty and liable for fraud, according to Yahoo News.
Last week, prior to the start of the actual trial this week, Justice Arthur Engoron essentially decided the matter in favor of New York Attorney General Letitia James and deemed Trump and others guilty of allegedly overinflating net worth and property values and were therefore liable to face certain punishments.
The possible punishments that James is seeking include up to $250 million in damages, the revocation of certificates necessary to do business in the Empire State, the placement of Trump's businesses and properties in state receivership, and even the potential seizure of Trump's assets and profits in the state.
Reuters reported that even as the New York civil fraud trial is ongoing, former President Trump's attorneys have filed an appeal with the state's mid-level Appellate Division with regard to Judge Engoron's pre-trial ruling.
That notice of appeal, which included Engoron's decision as an attached appendix, noted that it was challenging "each and every part" of the judge's earlier ruling.
On Sept. 26, before the actual trial officially got underway, Judge Engoron decided that "conclusive evidence" of wrongdoing had already been presented by prosecutors in AG James' office and declared Trump, his adult sons, the Trump Organization, and numerous other associates and entities to be liable for fraud.
James had alleged, and Engoron apparently agreed, that Trump and others had fraudulently overinflated the reported value of various assets and properties -- including Trump's South Florida Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump Tower in New York City, and other businesses and golf course -- in order to obtain more favorable terms for bank loans and insurance coverage.
Trump, of course, has loudly and vociferously proclaimed his innocence and denied any wrongdoing as he has simultaneously sharply criticized by the judge and attorney general as being biased against him in a purely politically motivated prosecutorial effort to harm his business empire and chances at re-election in 2024.
The Hill reported that former President Trump's appeal of Judge Engoron's ruling seeks to reverse the outcome of that decision that, if allowed to stand, would result in the immediate revocation of any and all business certificates possessed by Trump, any of the other named defendants, and any other entities controlled by or beneficial to the named defendants.
The cancellation of those necessary certificates would seemingly allow for the various impacted assets to be placed into a state-governed receivership, meaning Trump and his associates would likely lose control over those iconic businesses and properties and the revenue they generate.
As things stand now, with Engoron having already essentially decided the core of the case in favor of AG James, the actual ongoing trial appears to be little more than a formality to settle other related claims put forward by James and determine the breadth and severity of the punishment that the judge has already decided is due to be imposed.
Given the utter absurdity of this whole predetermined charade, is it any wonder then that former President Trump has angrily lashed out multiple times against the judge and prosecutor over the past few days since the trial began on Monday?
Indeed, while Trump's attorneys attempt to argue in court that the prosecution seeking to prove fraud is itself based on fraudulent claims and mistaken determinations about property values, the former president himself has made it personal with damning critiques of James and Engoron and others associated with them, according to The Hill.
Trump does risk pushing those attacks too far, however, and has already been rebuked and subjected to a limited gag order for the remainder of the proceedings after he singled out for criticism the apparent bias and interference against him of the judge's chief law clerk.