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New York AG seeking to expedite fraud suit against Trump and company

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(WASHINGTON) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James wants to accelerate her $250 million fraud lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, his children, his company, and two of its executives.

James, in a letter to the state's chief administrative judge, signaled her intention to push for a trial before 2024 and asked him to keep the civil case before Judge Arthur Engoron, who had presided over disputes between the attorney general and the Trump legal team during the investigation.

The Office of the Attorney General "intends to seek an expedited preliminary conference to set a trial date before the end of 2023," James' letter said. "Allowing for an expedited trial schedule on an enforcement proceeding after extensive litigation over subpoena enforcement is precisely the circumstance that warrants keeping this case before Justice Engoron in the interests of judicial economy."

Trump had asked for the case to be assigned to someone other than Engoron, who earlier held him in contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena during the probe.

Trump's attorney, Alina Habba, accused the attorney general's office of trying to keep the case before a friendly judge.

"OAG's actions appear to be nothing less than a deliberate attempt to circumvent the rules of the Individual Assignment System and to 'judge shop,'" Habba said in a letter asking for the case to be reassigned to the Commercial Division of New York State Supreme Court. The AG, in contrast, argues that Engoron is already familiar with the material so for expediency's sake the case should stay with him.

James has accused Trump of "staggering" fraud and alleges that the former president, with the help of his three eldest children and two corporate executives, "grossly inflated" his net worth by billions of dollars.

The lawsuit accuses them of preparing hundreds of fraudulent and misleading financial statements that overstated the values of nearly every major property in the Trump portfolio, thereby convincing banks and insurers to giving Trump better terms than he otherwise would have received.

All of the defendants have denied wrongdoing.

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