While the world awaits for New York Justice Arthur Engoron to issue a verdict in Donald Trump’s $370 million bank fraud trial, legal experts believe Engoron is awaiting juicy new details from an emerging plea deal from one of the real estate mogul’s former lieutenants.
Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, is negotiating a plea deal with Manhattan prosecutors, reported The New York Times. That deal wouldn’t require Weisselberg to turn on his boss, but would necessitate his admission that he lied on the stand during Trump’s bank fraud trial and in interviews with the New York attorney general’s office.
That could drastically impact Engoron’s ruling, according to legal experts.
“Why has Judge Engoron not issued his decision on the Trump civil fraud? One reason could well be the news that the Trump chief financial officer may be pleading to lying to Judge Engoron in a way to help Trump,” said former Mueller investigation prosecutor Andrew Weissmann on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “And the Judge is waiting for that to support his decision against DJT. This [would] be another big nail in the Trump civil fraud coffin.”
Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig also weighed in, arguing that the plea deal and the verdict’s subsequent delay are a “problem for Donald Trump because he’s going to be on the receiving end.”
“If I’m in Judge Engoron’s position here, and getting ready to issue a big verdict and ruling, and now I hear this, and we’ve all heard it, that one of the key witnesses committed perjury in front of me—I slam on the brakes and I say, ‘I’m not going to rule until I know the specifics of this,’” he told CNN on Thursday.
“If you’re going to issue a ruling and if it turns out Weisselberg lied, that’s going to harm the Trump Organization when it comes time for the verdict,” Honig added.
Engoron ruled prior to the start of the trial that New York Attorney General Letitia James had proved that Trump committed fraud. What remains to be seen in Engoron’s verdict is just how much dough Trump will have to cough up as recompense for his scheme, which was likened by the judge to Bernie Madhoff’s ponzi scheme. The court has also floated the possibility of stripping the Trump Organization’s licenses to do business in the state.