Former President Donald Trump secured a temporary reprieve in his civil fraud lawsuit as a New York court granted a delay in the cancellation of his business licenses within the state.
The development comes after Trump, the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, filed an appeal earlier this week to halt the ongoing trial in New York.
The trial, which began this week, lacks a jury but has Trump himself in attendance. It commenced following a surprising ruling by Judge Arthur Engoron in late September, in which he found repeated fraud committed by the Trump Organisation. This led to the order for the cancellation of business licenses belonging to Trump and his two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric.
In a decision issued by an appeals court in New York on Friday, Judge Peter Moulton declined to suspend the trial but did grant a temporary stay on the “order directing the cancellation of business certificates.”
This ruling represents a short-term victory for the former president, who faced the prospect of a partial dismantling of his real estate empire following Judge Engoron’s September decision.
During the court proceedings on Friday, Trump’s lawyers and attorneys representing New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is pursuing a $250 million judgment against Trump for alleged fraudulent business filings, presented their arguments. In the courtroom, Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise, argued that the dissolution would result in chaos, stating, “This is everything owned or controlled by the defendant. Once you dissolve, you dissolve.”
James’ representative, Judy Vale, countered this argument, stating that there was no basis for an interim stay in a trial that had already been underway for a week.
Trump had a notable presence in the Manhattan court this week, spending nearly three days in both the courtroom and the hallways, engaging with the press.
In response to Trump’s court appearance, James characterised it as a political stunt and fundraising stop. In turn, Trump labeled the African American attorney general, a Democrat, as “corrupt” and “racist.”
As the trial is set to resume next week, James expressed confidence that “justice will prevail” in the case. While this lawsuit is civil in nature, Trump faces multiple other significant legal challenges across various jurisdictions, including criminal charges, all of which he has vehemently denied and pleaded not guilty to.