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Verdict in Trump New York business fraud could come by mid-February

<i>David 'Dee' Delgado/Reuters</i><br/>A general view of Trump Tower in New York City
David 'Dee' Delgado/Reuters
A general view of Trump Tower in New York City

By Lauren del Valle and Devan Cole, CNN

New York City (CNN) — New guidance from court officials suggests a verdict in the civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Donald Trump could come any time in the next few weeks.

“It’s looking like early to mid-February, as a rough estimate, and subject to modifications,” said Al Baker, a spokesperson for the Office of Court Administration.

Judge Arthur Engoron is poised to issue a written ruling on fraud claims against Trump and his co-defendants, which includes his adult sons and his company. The attorney general has said Trump and his company should pay $370 million in disgorgement for their ill-gotten gains.

Engoron said at closing arguments for the bench trial that he’d aim to file his ruling on the public docket by January 31, but warned the parties that wasn’t a firm deadline.

Last Friday, the court-appointed monitor overseeing Trump Organization business activities filed a report flagging errors and inconsistencies in financial disclosures that Trump’s company submitted to third parties. The monitor warned that the issues may continue if they go unaddressed.

“My observations suggest misstatements and errors may continue to occur, which could result in incorrect or inaccurate reporting of financial information to third parties,” Judge Barbara Jones wrote.

In a letter response filed Monday, Trump’s attorney said the monitor’s latest report contains factual inaccuracies and is “misleading and disingenuous.”

“The January 26 Report, issued mere days before an expected decision, has only two obvious purposes: (1) ensure the Monitor continues to receive exorbitant fees (in excess of $2.6 million to date); and (2) fill the gaping hole in the Attorney General’s case, namely, that there is no basis to support continued oversight,” the response stated.

Engoron has already ruled that Trump has engaged in fraud and ordered the dissolution of his business empire, an action that is on hold pending Trump’s appeal. The judge canceled business certificates for many of Trump’s entities in New York, including the Trump Organization – a sprawling entity comprised of 500 limited liability companies.

Engoron also called for a receiver to oversee the dissolution of the entities, which include buildings such as Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street and the Seven Springs family compound in Westchester County, New York.

His upcoming ruling will address six additional claims including conspiracy, issuing false financial statements, falsifying business records and insurance fraud.

The former president has cast the case as a political witch hunt. Legally, Trump and his team argue that there’s no proof of an intent to defraud and that lenders were obligated to conduct their own due diligence, regardless of the valuations the Trump Organization supplied. And they say companies like Deutsche Bank wanted to do business with the Trump Organization and went into the deals with open eyes.

CNN’s Dan Berman contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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