Business titan Maurice “Hank” Greenberg is pushing ahead with a claim that the judge assigned to his eight-year-old civil fraud case, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos (See Profile), is biased, and on Thursday he persuaded an appellate justice to grant an interim stay of the proceedings.

Greenberg, the former chief executive officer of American International Group (AIG), and Howard Smith, the company’s former chief financial officer, complain that over the lengthy history of the case brought by the New York Attorney General’s Office, Ramos has been “aggressive and argumentative” toward the defense.

In July, shortly after the Court of Appeals cleared the way for a trial (NYLJ, June 26), Greenberg and Smith asked Ramos to recuse himself for bias (NYLJ, July 30). Ramos refused to step aside and set a date of Oct. 17 for oral argument on the defendants’ summary judgment motion.

The defendants on Thursday appeared before Appellate Division, First Department Justice David Friedman (See Profile), who issued an interim stay pending arguments before a full panel on whether the stay should be continued while Greenberg appeals Ramos’ denial of the recusal motion.

Greenberg is represented by Boies, Schiller & Flexner and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Kaye Scholer represents Smith. The attorney general is representing the state in Cuomo v. Greenberg, 401720/05.