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Trump Appeals ‘Overly Broad, Overreaching, and Unenforceable’ Order Putting His Business Empire Under Court Monitoring

A photo shows Donald Trump pointing.

Former President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd as he prepares to speak a campaign rally for Republican candidates on October 9, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.)

Former President Donald Trump moved to appeal of a judge’s ruling that would put his business empire under the watchful eye of a court-appointed monitor.

“The preliminary injunction imposed by the court is overly broad, overreaching, and unenforceable on its face,” Trump’s attorney Alina Habba wrote in a statement. “We trust that the Appellate Division will reign [sic] in the Attorney General’s unbridled desire to exert control over the Trump Organization.”

The notice of appeal was filed days after Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron appointed an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization. The judge also blocked the company from moving assets to another entity, named Trump Organization II, in order to dodge the massive lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D).

The culmination of a years-long investigation, the lawsuit alleges that the Trump, his family and his business unlawfully inflated and deflated assets to obtain tax benefits. She asked for a court-appointed monitor, claiming that the Trump Organization has “continued those same fraudulent practices” that made her investigate and sue in the first place.

Former federal prosecutor Mitchell Epner, now a partner at Rottenberg Lipman Rich PC, noted that judge’s injunction was quite extensive.

“This essentially freezes a major portion of FPOTUS’s assets, other than the transactions in the ordinary course of business,” Epner noted. “Justice Engoron based his ruling on defendants’ ‘demonstrated propensity for committing fraud.'”

Among the conduct prohibited by the injunction, the Trump Organization could not sell any assets listed on the 2021 Statement of Financial Condition without giving 14 days notice to the attorney general and the court.

“At this moment, AG James is on a bigger winning streak than LeBron James,” Epner added.

In a hearing last week, Trump’s attorney Chris Kise — a former solicitor general of Florida and ally to that state’s Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — emphasized that the complexity of the transactions would make monitoring unwieldy.

“These agreements are a foot thick,” Kise said, also emphasizing the sophistication of the other parties to these transactions, like the German lender Deutsche Bank.

“We’re not talking about individuals walking around the streets of Manhattan,” Kise told the judge at last week’s hearing. “We’re talking about sophisticated counter-parties.”

Engoron was unmoved by the argument that the sophistication of those transactions — and their size — was a reason to adopt a laissez-faire approach, rather than ratchet up oversight.

“Notably, New York City is the epicenterof global finance,” Engoron wrote. “To take an example close to home, Deutsche Bank, headquartered in Germany, lent hundreds of millions of dollars to a New York real estate conglomerate that owns properties all over the world. New Yorkers derive enormous economic and other benefits from all the money coursing through the veins of Wall Street and real estate. Our executive, legislative, and judicial institutions are obligated to ensure that financial transactions are conducted truthfully, not fraudulently.”

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."