With little explanation, Trump withdraws lawsuit against Judge Engoron in NY civil fraud case

October 7, 2023

Last month, former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against the judge presiding over his New York civil fraud trial, in which Trump is defending against a concerted effort by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James to financially cripple and destroy his real estate and business empire.

That lawsuit, which some viewed as an effort to delay the start of the trial that is now underway, was dropped by Trump's attorneys Thursday night, according to the Daily Beast.

Lawsuit against judge withdrawn

Little indication was given in the brief filing on Thursday for the withdrawal of the lawsuit other than that it had been "stipulated and agreed" between Trump's attorneys and AG James that "the above-captioned Article 78 proceeding is discontinued with prejudice," meaning it can't be refiled again later.

Article 78 is a New York statute that governs the "nature of proceeding" when seeking legal relief against the actions and decisions of particular institutions and officials in the state.

Law & Crime reported that the lawsuit was first filed in mid-September against New York Justice Arthur Engoron after he had rejected a motion that called into question AG James' "callous disregard" for a ruling by the state's First Appellate Division that excluded or narrowed some of her claims against Trump and the Trump Organization due to being beyond the statute of limitations.

The argument revolved around the need for a delay in the trial due to the "chaos" caused by the refusal of James, and subsequently, Engoron himself, to heed the unanimous decision of the appellate court panel with regard to the narrowing of the attorney general's legitimate claims against the former president and his family business.

AG James overtly attempting to destroy Trump's business empire

AG James, of course, previously filed a $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Trump, his adult sons, the Trump Organization, and top company executives over allegations that they fraudulently overinflated the reported values of various assets and properties in order to obtain more favorable terms for bank loans and insurance.

In addition to the $250 million in damages, she is also seeking to crush Trump's empire by having the court revoke his necessary certificates to do business in New York, dissolve or place into receivership some or all of his assets and properties, and seize for the state some or all of the profits and revenues derived from those assets and properties.

Judge Engoron, for his part in the charade, preemptively ruled before the trial even began that Trump was guilty of the accusations against him and his company and was liable for fraud, rendering the actual and ongoing trial into little more than a glorified and months-long sentencing hearing to determine just how broad and severe the punishment handed down against Trump and his business should be.

Why was the lawsuit dropped?

Newsweek reported that the lawsuit was widely viewed by legal analysts as a sort of tactical move by former President Trump's legal team to try and score a delay in the proceedings of the civil fraud case in New York.

However, since that trial officially got underway earlier this week, there is no longer any point to the now-moot lawsuit, according to former federal and state prosecutor Michael McAuliffe, who holds a rather dim view of Trump and the strategy and tactics of his defense attorneys.

"As with so much of what Trump does, the suit was a short-term tactical move designed to delay the start of the civil fraud trial," the former prosecutor explained. "When the maneuver of filing suit against the presiding judge didn't work -- the trial started as scheduled -- the main reason for the suit evaporated."

"Trump's signature approach to lawsuits is to try anything and everything to achieve what he decides in the moment is desirable," McAuliffe continued. "That approach works with underfunded opponents and those who can't sustain intense, hand-to-hand combat litigation."

"What's changed is the current crop of legal opponents Trump is facing in the civil and criminal matters are well funded, competent, and committed to their causes. That's why you are seeing Trump losing the numerous smaller legal battles," he added.

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