Donald Trump appeals New York court order for watchdog at company

Donald Trump departs Trump Tower two days after FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago Palm Beach home, in New York City, New york, U.S., August 10, 2022. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado

NEW YORK, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday appealed a judge's order to install a watchdog at the Trump Organization before a civil fraud case by the state's attorney general goes to trial.

Manhattan-based Justice Arthur Engoron on Thursday granted state Attorney General Letitia James' request to appoint an independent monitor to halt alleged ongoing fraud at the real estate company and keep the Trumps from transferring assets out of her reach.

Engoron's order bars the defendants from transferring assets without court approval, and requires that the monitor receive a "full and accurate description" of the Trump Organization's structure and assets.

James had in September named Trump; his adult children Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka; the Trump Organization and others as defendants in a $250 million civil fraud lawsuit for allegedly overvaluing assets and Trump's net worth through a decade of lies to banks and insurers.

Engoron gave both sides until Nov. 10 to recommend three candidates to be come a monitor.

In a notice of appeal filed on Monday, lawyers for Trump and his children asked the Appellate Division, a mid-level state appeals court, to review Engoron's order.

Trump's lawyer Alina Habba argued that the order should not be enforced before the appeal is heard because the Trumps would otherwise "suffer significant, irreparable harm."

She said Engoron "rubber-stamped" James' attempt to interfere in private commercial transactions "without any express statutory authority."

James' office had no comment on the appeal, but has rejected Trump's claim that the attorney lacked authority to sue.

Trump, a Republican, last week called Engoron's order "ridiculous," and the Trump Organization called it an "obvious attempt" to influence Tuesday's midterm U.S. elections. James is a Democrat.

The case is among many legal battles Trump faces as he mulls a 2024 bid for the presidency.

Testimony began last week in another Manhattan courtroom in a criminal case by the Manhattan district attorney's office accusing the Trump Organization of scheming to defraud tax authorities for at least 15 years. The company has pleaded not guilty.

Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York Editing by Bill Berkrot

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Thomson Reuters

Reports on the New York federal courts. Previously worked as a correspondent in Venezuela and Argentina.