- NY’s attorney general, Letitia James, sued the Trump Organization back on September 21.
- Reps for Donald Trump and Eric Trump finally got served, the AG said Thursday.
- Service took three weeks — and a judge’s order — with the AG accusing Trump of ‘gamesmanship.’
Donald Trump has lost the first legal skirmish in his battle against New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, and her $250 million fraud case against him: After three weeks and a court order, he’s been officially served with the 220-page lawsuit.
Trump was finally served through his attorney, Alina Habba, “by sending in electronic mail a message containing a secure cloud link to pdf attachments of all the documents,” James said in a court filing Thursday.
The lawsuit accuses the Trump Organization of a decadelong pattern of fraudulently exaggerating the company’s worth; it seeks a quarter-billion dollars in penalties and to bar the Trumps from doing business in New York.
Representatives for Trump and his son Eric, an executive vice president at his father’s company, had evaded service of the lawsuit ever since it was filed three weeks ago, on September 21.
Habba and a lawyer for Eric Trump, Clifford Robert, never replied to emails sent by the attorney general that same day requesting confirmation that they were the appropriate persons to accept service, her office complained in a court filing last week.
Lawyers for all of the suit’s other defendants, including Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., had meanwhile quickly accepted service.
The silent treatment from Donald and Eric Trump came despite Habba and Robert having submitted notices to the court in late September — called “notices of appearance” — declaring themselves to be attorneys of record for the case.
The apparent runaround led James’ office to accuse Trump’s side of “gamesmanship.” Last week, she sought a court order that allowed her to simply email the papers to Habba and Robert and be done with it.
The Manhattan judge handling the case quickly agreed, ruling Thursday that emailing the papers to the two lawyers would suffice as service to both Trumps. James fired off those emails the same day, their Monday filing said.
Habba and Robert have not responded to Insider’s requests for comment on the delay in service of the lawsuit.
The judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, set October 31 as the date for oral arguments in the lawsuit’s next dispute.
The sides will argue over the attorney general’s claim that the Trump Organization is so rife with ongoing fraud that it’s in immediate need of an independent financial monitor to be appointed and overseen by the judge.
Another early dispute is simmering concerning Engoron himself, the same judge who in April found Trump in contempt of court for not fully complying with the attorney general’s subpoenas in the two-year run-up to her filing suit.
Habba has asked that the lawsuit be transferred out of Engoron’s courtroom to be handled instead by any judge in Manhattan’s commercial division, which is tasked with complex business disputes.