Donald Trump in court in New York on 11 January. — AFP/file

Donald Trump appeals $454 million New York civil fraud verdict

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Appeal challenges steep penalties that pose a significant threat to Trump’s financial reserves

Donald Trump in court in New York on 11 January. — AFP/file 

Donald Trump has appealed against the $454 million civil fraud judgment in New York, contesting the ruling that accused him of misrepresenting his wealth as he built the real estate empire that propelled him to fame and the presidency, The Guardian reported. 

Trump’s legal team filed appeal notices on Monday, urging the state’s mid-level appeals court to overturn Judge Arthur Engoron’s verdict from February 16 in a lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The appeal challenges the steep penalties that pose a significant threat to Trump’s financial reserves.

In the appeal documents, Trump’s lawyers state their intent to have the appeals court scrutinise whether Judge Engoron “committed errors of law and/or fact” and if he abused his discretion or exceeded his jurisdiction. 

Notably, the appeal did not address whether Trump seeks a stay on the judgment collection by putting up funds or assets.

Judge Engoron found that Trump and his company engaged in a scheme to deceive banks and insurers by inflating his wealth on financial statements. The judgment imposed severe limitations on the Trump Organization’s business activities. 

The appeal ensures that the legal battle over Trump’s business practices continues, coinciding with the presidential primary season and beyond, as he seeks the Republican nomination for the presidency.

If upheld, the ruling could compel Trump to part with a substantial portion of his fortune, with daily accruing interest until the payment is made. Trump, asserting his net worth in the billions, faces potential asset seisures if unable to meet the judgment. 

The appeal is part of Trump’s ongoing legal challenges, including criminal charges in multiple jurisdictions and other civil cases, adding complexity to his political ambitions.

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