Donald Trump and his legal team are facing demands for clarification amid accusations raised in a letter from lawyer Roberta Kaplan about the possibility of a conflict in scheduling between a trial in state court and another in federal court involving the ex-president — a scheduling dilemma potentially purposed to delay some of the proceedings if not handled earlier.
Kaplan is most well-known around Trump these days for her representation of writer E. Jean Carroll amid accusations from the writer that Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, and in connection to those claimed circumstances, Carroll has filed claims both of defamation and covering the original incident. That, however, is not the context in which Kaplan got in touch with the federal and state judges, the latter of whom is Arthur Engoron, another well-known figure around Trump for his handling of legal disputes connected to the former president. Instead, Kaplan was writing on behalf of individuals challenging Trump in the federal case for his role in promoting what turned out to be shoddy products.
The state case at issue is the civil lawsuit from New York state Attorney General Letitia James over accusations of years of financial misconduct at the Trump family business centering on essentially contrived claims of value across dozens of company assets, deceptive valuations that would’ve been positioned to provide Trump and others in the business with financial benefits like perks on their taxes.
“Judge Schofield immediately ordered Trump’s lawyers to explain themselves in writing by March 15,” The Daily Beast explained. That judge, who’s handling the federal case, is U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield. Engoron had yet to respond as of the publication’s report late last week. The planned timing of the federal trial was evidently established in line with the expressed hopes from Trump’s own corner, and with the Trumps’ side now seeking a delay in the trial over James’s allegations that could conflict with that matter, it’s the ex-president’s own camp responsible for the mess. The conflict, if left alone, could’ve later been used as an excuse to delay one or both of the trials even further.
“The defendants went so far as to propose a schedule in which the trial in the NYAG case would not begin—at the earliest—until mid-December 2023,” Kaplan wrote of the most recent push. “Based on Mr. Roberts’s prior estimate that trial in that case will take longer than eight weeks, the delay that the Individual Defendants are now seeking in the NYAG Case would almost inevitably risk interfering with the January 29, 2024 trial date the Court has set for this case. And yet in their submission in that case, the Individual Defendants made no mention at all of their obligations here (nor did they alert us to their filing). It is beyond our understanding how the Individual Defendants could make such a proposal in the face of this Court’s prior Order not only accommodating their request, but making clear the resulting January 29, 2024 trial date was “firm.””
Arguments over the potential delay proposed to Engoron for the fraud case are scheduled for later this month.