Former President Trump on Friday asked for a roughly six-month delay in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) civil fraud suit against him.
Trump’s motion, if granted, would likely push his trial back until the heat of the presidential primary season in the early months of 2024.
Attorneys for the former president argued that the current schedule infringes on Trump’s “right to a reasonable time to conduct discovery.”
“The requested extension allows Defendants a fair and reasonable opportunity to engage in meaningful discovery and to prepare and present an adequate legal defense,” they added.
Newly filed court documents indicate that Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing the case, told the parties during a recent proceeding that the trial would start as scheduled on Oct. 2 “come hell or high water.”
James filed the lawsuit last September, accusing the former president and his businesses of manipulating property values for years to obtain investments and loan benefits.
She named the former president and his three adult children — Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump — along with a number of the family’s business entities as defendants and asked for an estimated $250 million in financial penalties.
The legal team for Trump, who has cast the suit as a political witch hunt, said the additional time is needed to review millions of pages of documents and conduct witness interviews.
“Defendants cannot possibly review the staggering volume of material, serve subpoenas, review subpoenaed materials, prepare for and conduct depositions — all within a three-and-a-half month period from the date on which Plaintiff produced its investigative file — and then prepare and present expert reports one month later,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.
James’s office has voiced opposition to that argument in recent days in a series of letters and emails as Trump’s attorneys discussed a delay, court documents show. A spokesman for the office declined to provide additional comment.
Trump’s motion asks to delay a number of pretrial deadlines, each by roughly six months, which would likely push the new trial date deep into the 2024 campaign season.
After telling the parties the Oct. 2 trial would take place “come hell or high water,” the judge wrote in a Feb. 22 email that “with all that has already been accomplished, I see no reason to alter my determination to start the trial on that day,” according to court documents.