Trump Rages as Fraud Case Verdict Looms

( – Former president and current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has taken to his social media site Truth to air his views on the civil fraud case that threatens to destroy his real estate empire. Trump has repeatedly clashed with Judge Arthur Engoron, a long-term donor to the Democrat party, having accused Engoron and his court clerk of being biased against him. Engoron placed a gag order on Trump to prevent him from publicly discussing the trial or the staff involved, which Trump appealed with brief success.

Engoron, who in 2023 ruled that Trump had indeed committed fraud, heard the closing statements in court on January 11th, 2024, aiming to decide on the level of damages awarded and whether or not to bar Trump from doing any future business in the New York real estate industry by the end of January. Engoron’s September 2023 ruling determined that Trump had indeed lied about the size and value of his properties between 2011 and 2021 to gain favorable deals from financial lenders and insurance companies, including valuing his Mar-A-Lago resort at a rate 20 times higher than he did on his tax assessment.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has sought Trump’s permanent expulsion from the world of New York real estate as well as $370 million in damages, although it remains unclear what financial impact his alleged fraud truly had on any of the companies and banks he dealt with. While James has not requested that Trump’s business be dissolved, Engoron previously said that the state certificates required to run several of Trump’s businesses should be revoked and that these companies should be handed over to a third-party receiver to manage their “dissolution.” It is not yet clear what this dissolution would entail, although it could mean the total shutdown of certain of Trump’s businesses. This would represent a rarity in legal history. When Associated Press searched through 70 years of cases that also did not have obvious victims and financial losses, they failed to find any others in which a business had been threatened with a total shutdown.

Trump’s comments on the ongoing case have been scathing, asserting that the case is “rigged” against him and is politically motivated. He argued on Truth that Engoron should have dismissed the case instead of ruling against him and called for the “highest Courts in New York State” to intercede. Trump also implied that James may know the outcome of the trial ahead of time, saying that her “BIG grin” while sitting in court suggested she already knew how Engoron would rule and was pleased with the result.

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