Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Engoron Is Expected to Issue His Ruling Tomorrow

Today and tomorrow are big days for Donald Trump on the legal front. As we noted yesterday, today Trump will attend the hearing run by Judge Juan Merchan concerning the Stormy Daniels hush money case and will skip the hearing in Atlanta in which Judge Scott McAfee will decide if Fani Willis can continue on the Georgia RICO case. But for Trump, the really important news is likely to come tomorrow. Inside sources are reporting that Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over NY AG Letitia James' civil suit against Trump, will issue his ruling then. Engoron has already ruled that Trump engaged in fraud. Tomorrow he will announce the penalty. James is asking for $370 million, but Engoron is free to pick any random 9-digit number he wants. Or maybe, if he is in a bad mood, a 10-digit number.

Last month, he said he would try to pick a number by the end of January. Picking a number isn't so hard. There are plenty of random number generators out on the Internet that can provide you with a random number in whatever range you want. Why the delay? We don't know, but we do know that the monitor Engoron appointed to oversee the Trump Organization, retired judge Barbara Jones, wrote him a letter in late January that mentions a $48 million payment Trump received, supposedly in repayment of a loan. If there was indeed a loan, that money would not be taxable income. However, Jones asserted that there was no loan and Trump simply evaded taxes, a felony, on $48 million in income. It is possible that Engoron wanted to learn more about this "loan" and take it into account when picking his number. We'll probably find out tomorrow. If Trump is fined $370 million or more, he is going to be extremely unhappy and will lash out at Engoron, the courts, and more.

Will this move the needle politically? Probably not a lot. Nothing seems to, and this is only a civil case. Still, losing so much money will really get to Trump and maybe cause him to say things that don't play well with college-educated suburban voters who don't want to burn the whole country down. (V)

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