Trump legal news brief: Trump’s legal battles roll on following massive loss to E. Jean Carroll


Friday’s jury verdict ordering former President Donald Trump to pay columnist E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in damages for defamation is the first in a string of legal cases that could result in millions more in fines, the potential loss of his real estate empire in New York and even a jail sentence. Here are the upcoming courtroom actions involving the former White House occupant who is looking to be reelected president in 2024.

New York financial fraud

Judge’s ruling imminent on future of Trump’s business empire

Key players: Judge Arthur Engoron, New York Attorney General Letitia James

  • Engoron is poised to enter his final ruling on how much Trump and his fellow defendants must pay after being found liable for years of financial fraud in New York, the Associated Press reported.

  • The judge, who alone will decide the penalties, has promised to try to announce his decision by the end of the month, but has already ruled that the defendants overinflated the value of their assets in order to obtain favorable bank and insurance terms.

  • James is asking Engoron to fine the Trump Organization $370 million and prevent the company from ever again doing business in New York.

  • In September, Engoron canceled the company’s business certificates in New York, but an appeals court stayed that ruling.

  • Trump’s lawyers have argued that there were no victims in the case and that banks were repaid for loans made to the company.

Why it matters: Engoron is almost certain to hit Trump and the co-defendants with a hefty fine in the case, and could impose further restrictions on the company’s ability to conduct business in the state. Trump and his co-defendants are all but certain to appeal Engoron’s ruling.

Jan. 6 election interference

Supreme Court urged to find Trump ineligible to become president again

Key players: U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Tanya Chutkan, special counsel Jack Smith, Colorado Supreme Court

  • The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on February 8 on the question of whether Trump’s actions to contest the results of the 2020 election disqualify him from ever again holding elected office again in the United States, the Associated Press reported.

  • Section 3 of Article 14 bars those who swore an oath to the Constitution but later “engaged in insurrection” from holding office, and the Colorado high court ruled that was grounds to remove his name from ballots.

  • “Trump intentionally organized and incited a violent mob to attack the United States Capitol in a desperate effort to prevent the counting of electoral votes cast against him,” lawyers representing parties seeking to keep Trump off presidential ballots said in a court filing on Friday.

  • Trump’s lawyers contend that Section 3 does not apply to presidents and that Congress alone has the power to block candidates from appearing on ballots.

Why it matters: In addition to the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to remove Trump from state ballots, Maine’s secretary of state has also issued a ruling that he is ineligible to serve again.

Georgia election interference

Judge to hear arguments on Fani Willis misconduct allegations

Key players: Judge Scott McAfee, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Trump co-defendant Michael Roman, lead prosecutor Nathan Wade

  • McAfee has scheduled a Feb. 15 hearing for arguments in a legal motion brought by Roman seeking to disqualify Willis from handling the sprawling election interference case against Trump and 18 others over her alleged affair with Wade, Bloomberg reported.

  • Last week, Trump signed on to Roman’s motion, asking the judge to dismiss all charges in the case.

  • McAfee has given Willis until Feb. 2 to respond to the allegations of ethical violations stemming from being involved in a romantic relationship with Wade while also paying for his services as a prosecutor.

Why it matters: While it remains unclear whether Willis or Wade will be forced off the case, the allegations of an improper relationship between the two has given Trump and his co-defendants ammunition they need to fight the case.

Hush money payment

Porn star payment could be Trump’s first criminal case to go to court

Key players: Adult film star Stormy Daniels, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg

  • With the federal election interference case against Trump on hold until his appeals play out on the question whether presidential immunity protects him from being prosecuted, Bragg’s hush money case, which is slated to begin on March 25, could be Trump’s first criminal case to go to trial, the New York Times reported.

  • Trump is charged with 34 felony counts in the case that involves allegations that he falsified business records so as to conceal a $130,000 payment to Daniels in order to hide an alleged sexual affair, thereby keeping voters in the 2016 election from knowing about it.

  • In a radio interview last month, Bragg said the “heart of the case” was “about conspiring to corrupt a presidential election and then lying in New York business records to cover it up.”

Why it matters: If found guilty by a jury in the hush money case, Trump, for the first time, could face the prospect of being sentenced to time behind bars. But the criminal trial will also certainly include the sordid details of Trump’s relationships with Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal and his efforts to keep them hidden.

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