Former President Donald Trump has asked for a delay of several months before the start of the New York Attorney General’s $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against him, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization.
In a court filing 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 must review from Attorney General Letitia James’ office.
“On December 2, 2022, the Attorney General produced several terabytes of data comprising nearly 700,000 documents, more than 5.5 million pages of information, in addition to fifty-six transcripts of interviews with witnesses and defendants with corresponding exhibits,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the filing. .
Although they have since whittled that down to “nearly 275,000 documents and over 2.6 million pages,” reviewing those documents will take “up to 11,000 hours of work,” they wrote, claiming that Trump would “suffer grave harm” under the current “impossible” timeline that was “forced” on them.
The lawyers added: “Defendants cannot review the staggering volume of documents, serve subpoenas, review subpoenas, prepare and conduct depositions – all within three and a half months of the date the claimant produced its investigation file — then prepare and submit expert reports one month later.”
Trump’s legal team asked the judge to extend the deadline for finding the facts until the end of September and for finding the expert witnesses until December – two months after the start of the trial.
If the judge approves the request, the trial would likely begin in the early months of 2024, with presidential candidate Trump vying for the Republican primaries.
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 years-long investigation into the company’s business practices.
She alleged in the lawsuit that they had inflated their value in the financial statements of banks and insurers by billions of dollars, allowing them to obtain loans and deals to which they were not entitled.
In addition to financial penalties, James’ lawsuit seeks to permanently bar the Trump family from serving as executives of New York-based corporations and to prevent Trump and his company from making commercial real estate acquisitions in the state for a while. five years.
The judge presiding over the case, Arthur Engoron, denied Trump’s earlier requests for delay. Last month, Engoron said the trial date would be October 2 “come hell or high tide”.
NBC News reached out to James’ office to comment on Trump’s request to delay the case.
In a letter last month, James’ office urged the judge not to allow any significant delays, noting that the Trumps have a long history of using delaying tactics in the case and were aware of the prosecutor’s evidence. general since they follow a long investigation.
“The difficulties alleged by the Trumps are self-inflicted,” Assistant Attorney General Colleen Faherty said in the letter. “Their pleas ring hollow and their delays should not be rewarded with further delay.”
Trump’s lawyers countered that comparable cases typically have a discovery period of 15 months. They also pointed to Engoron’s November appointment of an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s financial dealings as one of the reasons there should be no rush to go to trial.
“There simply isn’t even any arguable potential harm presented by the requested extension,” they argued.