Former President Donald Trump has requested a continuance of months before the start of the New York attorney general’s $250 million civil fraud trial against him, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization.
in a court file On Friday, Trump’s lawyers argued that the current discovery deadline in the case, March 20, is unfair and unrealistic given the «staggering» amount of evidence they have to review from the prosecutor’s office. General Letitia James.
“On December 2, 2022, the attorney general produced several terabytes of data spanning nearly 700,000 documents, more than 5.5 million pages of information, plus 56 witness and defendant interview transcripts with supporting evidence.” , Trump’s lawyers wrote in the filing. .
While they have since whittled it down to «nearly 275,000 documents and more than 2.6 million pages,» reviewing those documents will take «up to 11,000 man hours,» they wrote, arguing that Trump would «suffer severe harm» under the law. current «impossible» schedule that has been «imposed» on them.
The lawyers added: «Defendants are unable to review the staggering volume of material, serve subpoenas, review cited materials, prepare and make statements, all within a period of three and a half months from the date the plaintiff filed your investigative file — and then prepare and submit expert reports a month later.»
Trump’s legal team asked the judge to extend the deadline for discovery of facts to the end of September and for discovery of expert witnesses to December, two months after the trial is scheduled to begin.
If the judge approves the request, the trial is likely to begin in the early months of 2024, as presidential candidate Trump competes in the Republican primary.
James filed the sweeping lawsuit against Trump, his three eldest children, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric, and the company in September. The civil suit is the culmination of a year-long investigation into the company’s business practices.
She alleged in the lawsuit that they had been inflating their financial statement value to banks and insurers to the tune of billions of dollars, allowing them to obtain loans and settlements to which they were not entitled.
In addition to financial sanctions, James’ lawsuit seeks to permanently bar the Trump family from serving as executives of New York-based companies and prevent Trump and his firm from making any commercial real estate acquisitions in the state for five years.
The judge presiding over the case, Arthur Engoron, rejected Trump’s earlier requests for delays. Last monthEngoron said the trial date would be October 2 «through thick and thin.»
NBC News has reached out to James’ office for comment on Trump’s request to delay the case.
In a letter last month, James’ office urged the judge not to allow significant delays, noting that the Trumps have a long history of using delay tactics in the case and have been aware of the attorney general’s evidence since follow a long investigation.
The «hardships alleged by the Trumps are self-inflicted,» Assistant Attorney General Colleen Faherty said in the letter. «Your pleas ring hollow and your delays should not be rewarded with more delays.»
Trump’s lawyers countered that comparable cases generally have a 15-month discovery deadline. They also pointed to Engoron’s November appointment of an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s financial dealings as one reason there should be no rush to trial.
«There simply isn’t even arguably potential harm presented by the requested extension,» they argued.