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Trump Fraud Verdict Likely In Mid-December, Then Long Appeals

Two months into Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial, the case is not going well for him. The judge has ruled that he committed fraud, fined the former president twice for violating a gag order and declared him to be “not credible.” Trump and his lawyers have repeatedly antagonized the judge, attacking him in the press and even disparaging his law clerk. As Trump’s lawyers roll out a defense that at times has looked more like a PR pitch, his New York real estate empire hangs in the balance, with a verdict expected in mid-December, reports Politico. Even the most punitive verdict is unlikely to devastate Trump’s businesses immediately. The case will be subject to lengthy appeals, and Trump seems to be counting on that appeals process to avoid exorbitant fines and salvage his businesses. The question at the heart of New York Attorney General Tish James’ lawsuit was resolved before the trial started: Did Trump fraudulently inflate his net worth on financial documents to get favorable treatment from banks and insurers? Justice Arthur Engoron ruled yes. Engoron granted one of the most significant punishments sought by James: the cancellation of all of Trump’s business certificates. An appeals court put that action on hold while it considers Trump’s appeal of Engoron’s ruling. The ongoing bench trial focuses on other punishments that Trump, his adult sons and the other defendants could face. James is seeking $250 million and she wants the judge to permanently bar Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump from serving as officers or directors of any business in New York. She is also seeking to bar Trump and the Trump Organization from acquiring real estate in New York for five years. The gist of the defense seems to be that the properties were properly valued at the estimates recorded on Trump’s financial statements.

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