In an apparent response to the recent fraud case, Donald Trump has done a maneuver that has infuriated the state attorney general.
With his business empire, the Trump Organization, in civil and criminal jeopardy in New York, Donald Trump has come up with an apparent solution that has angered state officials: He has formed the Trump Organization II.
The new company was registered with the New York Department of State on September 21, public records show — the very day that the state attorney general, Letitia James, filed a 220-page fraud lawsuit against Trump, his family, and the original Trump Organization, the umbrella company for the former president’s real-estate and golf-resort holdings.
On Thursday, James’ office fought back against the move, filing court papers that ask a Manhattan judge to bar Trump from moving assets from the Trump Organization into the new entity, the AG said in a press release.
The court papers ask the judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, to immediately appoint an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization.
The court papers also ask Engoron to allow the attorney general’s office to electronically serve Trump with a copy of the lawsuit.
It’s been three weeks since the lawsuit was filed, and as of Thursday, Trump and his other adult son, Eric Trump, had yet to formally accept service, as first reported by Insider on Monday.
Trump’s side, meanwhile, is hoping Engoron — the same judge who found Trump in contempt of court for three months this year and who fined him $110,000 — has nothing more to do with the case.
The Trump defense team applied last month to have the case moved away from Engoron’s courtroom and assigned to a judge in the state court division that handles complex commercial matters. That request remains pending before the state Supreme Court’s administrative judge, Justice Adam Silvera.
Alina Habba, the lead attorney defending Donald Trump from the attorney general’s lawsuit, said in a press statement Thursday that the latest filing “is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to keep this case with Justice Engoron rather than have it transferred to the commercial division where it belongs.
“We have repeatedly provided assurance, in writing, that the Trump Organization has no intention of doing anything improper,” Habba said in the press statement. “This is simply another stunt which Ms. James hopes will aid her failing political campaign.”
The attorney general’s office has countered that Engoron is best suited to continue with the case, as he has already presided over a two-year battle over the Trump side’s compliance with subpoenas for testimony and depositions.
On Thursday, Habba wrote to the administrative judge again, urging that the case be moved to the commercial division prior to a decision on the attorney general’s latest request for relief, which she said “has no merit and is dead on arrival for a number of reasons.”
Those reasons were not immediately elaborated on. Habba did not respond to multiple requests for comment on service of the lawsuit itself.