The judge overseeing New York Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million civil lawsuit against former President Trump is pondering whether to sanction his attorneys, new court filings revealed Thursday.
Judge Arthur Engoron, in an email to the attorneys, said he "is considering imposing sanctions for frivolous litigation" over Trump's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Trump's attorneys, Alina Habba, Christopher Kise and Clifford Robert, argued the lawsuit should be dismissed because the attorney general lacks standing or capacity to sue. They also echoed Trump's "witch hunt" line by arguing "the NYAG has pursued this crusade against all things Trump."
Those are "the same legal arguments that this Court previously rejected," Engoron said.
"[D]efendants are making the same arguments based on the same facts and the same law," Engoron's email said. The defense attorneys responded in a letter that said they acted properly to advance their client's interests.
"There was and is no intention to disregard or disrespect the Court or its rulings, but fundamental principles of advocacy and established law require presentation and preservation of arguments even where there is, respectfully, disagreement between the parties and/or the Court. This is the core of the adversarial process and in no way reflects any effort to disrespect the Court or impede the course of these proceedings," the defense letter said.
In its own letter to the judge, the attorney general's office did not take a position on whether Engoron should impose sanctions but senior counsel Kevin Wallace noted "the form of the rehashed arguments here appears calculated to delay the proceedings and needlessly divert the parties' and court's resources."
James filed her lawsuit in September after a three-year investigation into Trump's business practices. It names Trump, his three eldest children, his company and its two executives, and accuses them of fraudulently adjusting the value of the Trump real estate portfolio to obtain better terms on loans and taxes. The lawsuit, which Trump wholly denies, alleged that the defendants inflated Trump's net worth to obtain better lending terms than deserved.