Often I read about civil court cases that get thrown out because the person(s) filing the case had no direct involvement or were not affected in the case. The judges in these cases often note that the correct parties need to file the suit in order for it to continue.

Trump's case seems to fall on these grounds since the ones defrauded did not file the lawsuit. Why was it not thrown out on these grounds?

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    Please be more specific. Which case? There have been so many, either from individuals or from representatives of the people (i.e. State Attorneys). Voting to close due to lack of details. Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 17:26
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    @MarkJohnson, yes, theoretically this could refer to Doe v. Trump rather than New York v. Trump, but in practice, anyone asking about "the fraud lawsuit" is thinking of the latter.
    – Mark
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


Trump's case seems to fall on these grounds since the ones defrauded did not file the lawsuit. Why was it not thrown out on these grounds?

New York State law gives the attorney general the authorization. From Executive (EXC) chapter 18, article 5, section 63, detailing the duties of the attorney general of the State of New York (emphasis by me):

12. Whenever any person shall engage in repeated fraudulent or illegal acts or otherwise demonstrate persistent fraud or illegality in the carrying on, conducting or transaction of business, the attorney general may apply, in the name of the people of the state of New York, to the supreme court of the state of New York, on notice of five days, for an order enjoining the continuance of such business activity or of any fraudulent or illegal acts, directing restitution and damages and, in an appropriate case, cancelling any certificate filed under and by virtue of the provisions of section four hundred forty of the former penal law or section one hundred thirty of the general business law, and the court may award the relief applied for or so much thereof as it may deem proper. The word "fraud" or "fraudulent" as used herein shall include any device, scheme or artifice to defraud and any deception, misrepresentation, concealment, suppression, false pretense, false promise or unconscionable contractual provisions. The term "persistent fraud" or "illegality" as used herein shall include continuance or carrying on of any fraudulent or illegal act or conduct. The term "repeated" as used herein shall include repetition of any separate and distinct fraudulent or illegal act, or conduct which affects more than one person. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, all monies recovered or obtained under this subdivision by a state agency or state official or employee acting in their official capacity shall be subject to subdivision eleven of section four of the state finance law.

In connection with any such application, the attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in accordance with the civil practice law and rules. Such authorization shall not abate or terminate by reason of any action or proceeding brought by the attorney general under this section.

The law quoted above gives the attorney general standing to file certain civil fraud suits despite the fact that neither she nor the state of New York was a victim of the fraud. You can think of it as an exception to the normal rules of standing.

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    @KarlKnechtel the presumption of innocence does not apply in civil cases, nor even the concepts of innocence and guilt.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 10:37
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    @zibadawatimmy the question is perfectly reasonable. The normal understanding of standing is that a suit must be brought by an injured party. I posted the answer because I (and in the name of bias disclosure can say that I have disliked Trump for over 40 years) also didn't know, but I did know how to find out. The downvote was the first vote and was registered before I added the concluding paragraph, so it's also possible that it was motivated by the bare nature of the answer in its original form. Jumping to conclusions about others' motivations does not help with, for example, the...
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 10:46
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    ... aggression you mention. As to Trump's lawyers and their apparent confusion, it's their duty to bring forth every reasonable argument in their client's favor, and there are incentives to err on the side of overestimating an argument's reasonableness. Plus they are seeking to delay the proceedings because of the impending election.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 10:51
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    @KarlKnechtel Even if civil trials had a presumption of innocence, that presumption would already be obviated by the judge's ruling which found Trump did in fact commit fraud. "A New York judge ruled on Tuesday [26th Sept. 2023] that Donald J. Trump persistently committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets" nytimes.com/2023/09/26/nyregion/trump-james-fraud-trial.html People aren't entitled to a presumption of innocence after being found to have done it!
    – kaya3
    Commented Sep 30, 2023 at 20:15
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    @kaya3 Yes, exactly. The state can prosecute victimless crimes because, as I said, the state always has standing to enforce its laws. There doesn't need to be any specific injury beyond an injury to a government's right to have its valid laws obeyed. As I also said, I'm explaining why that law is not a violation of due process or otherwise problemmatic. If the state can rightfully pass a law, it necessarily has the power to enforce that law in court. Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 21:22

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