With such a heavy focus now on Donald Trump’s criminal trials – which are increasingly set to start soon even as the media increasingly insists they’re somehow never going to happen – it’s easy to forget about Trump’s civil trails. And when the final verdict was briefly delayed in his New York civil fraud trial, it set off a wave of “nothing will happen” defeatism.
But back in the real world, Judge Arthur Engoron recently said that his verdict is now due in early to mid February. There are different ways to define “mid February” but it means the verdict is probably coming this week, or early next week at the latest. And now we know that it’s set to be ugly. Profoundly ugly.
Engoron has since made clear that the delay is a result of longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s recently reported decision to plead guilty to having committed perjury in the civil trial. The judge is using the delay to determine whether to throw out Weisselberg’s testimony entirely. This is bad news for Trump, given that Weisselberg’s testimony largely consisted of him trying to cover for Trump.
In other words the verdict is either going to be as big as it was always going to be, or even bigger if it’s determined that Weisselberg’s perjury tilts things even more heavily against Trump.
New York AG Letitia James started off seeking $250 million against Donald Trump and then later upped it to $370 million. It’s up to Judge Engoron, not James, to determine the final dollar amount. But if it’s anything remotely in the ballpark of what James is seeking – and it very likely will be – it’s going to be unbelievably ugly for Donald Trump. It’s going to be the end of him financially. And that’s before his criminal trials soon get underway.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report