Years of delay tactics and games by the Trump Organization finally boiled over in New York court on Tuesday, when a state judge unleashed on the company and set a firm deadline for what could be the potential doom of Donald Trump’s family company.
The Trump Organization is now set to go on trial Oct. 2, 2023, when it will face accusations that it routinely faked property values—dodging taxes and tricking banks in the process.
Justice Arthur F. Engoron took a stern and exasperated tone against the former American presidents real estate company, setting deadlines that ensure the company faces justice long before its founder gets another chance at the White House.
Engoron showed zero patience for the Trump Organization’s attempt to slow down a three-year effort to hold the company accountable for blatantly faking real estate valuations.
“I think it was Yogi Berra who said, ‘It’s déjà vu all over again,’” Engoron said. “I ruled on all these issues. It seems to me the facts are the same. The laws are the same. The parties are the same. I don’t know why I and my staff—not to mention the attorney general’s staff—need to do this all over again. It’s like jumping through the same hoops.”
The Trump Organization, former President Donald Trump, and three of his offspring he made executives there—Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—face a $250 million lawsuit from New York’s top law enforcement officer. Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit, filed in September, portrayed the real estate company as a long-running criminal operation that regularly falsified documents by inflating property values to snag better bank loans and maximize tax write-offs on donated land.
The case’s roadmap was decided at Tuesday’s court hearing, where tensions built over years finally spilled over into the courtroom.
From the start, the court hearing quickly descended into an aggressive fight between the Trump family’s lawyers and the judge. Alina Habba, who represents the former president and his company, attacked the investigation and even the judge as wholly unreasonable.
She opposed how the case is now proceeding with speed, and made personal jabs at the judge.
“We will litigate this fully, as we are entitled to,” she warned. “It sounds like we are always in a predetermined situation where you will rule against us. Quite honestly, it’s unconstitutional. It’s improper.”
Engoron then criticized how the company’s response to the lawsuit was to simply repeat the same story: that the AG’s office is engaged in a political witch hunt.
“You can’t keep making the same arguments after you’ve already lost,” he said.
In one particularly snappy exchange, Engoron tried to convince the Trump lawyers to focus on making legal arguments.
“I just think you’re wasting time and resources,” he said.
Habba shot back that this was “the first time you say something I agree with.”