Update 2-Trump civil fraud case judge to investigate possible perjury by former CFO

(Adds request for comment in paragraph 4)

Written by Jack Quinn

February 6 (Reuters) – A New York judge overseeing the civil fraud trial of Donald Trump has asked lawyers in the case for information about possible perjury by the former US president’s former chief financial officer, who is said to be facing criminal charges for lying on the stand.

In a letter published Tuesday, Judge Arthur Engoron told Trump’s lawyers and the New York Attorney General’s Office that he wanted to know whether former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg “admits that he lied under oath in the courtroom.”

Engoron said the matter could affect the timing of his final ruling in the case, which is expected by mid-February.

Weisselberg’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump, the most likely candidate to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024, was accused in a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to secure better loan terms. James, a Democrat-elect, is seeking $370 million in fines and severe restrictions on Trump’s ability to do business in New York.

Trump denied any wrongdoing and described the case as a political vendetta.

The New York Times reported last week that Weisselberg, also a defendant in the case, is “negotiating a deal with Manhattan prosecutors that would require him to plead guilty to perjury” for testifying that he played no role in Trump’s false statements. About his property values.

Engoron presided over a controversial three-month trial last year and will decide the case without a jury. In his letter dated Monday, he asked attorneys in the case to advise him on whether Weisselberg’s plea negotiations should affect the timing of his sentence.

He also indicated that he might strike Weisselberg’s testimony at trial as unreliable if the former CFO pleaded guilty to perjury.

Before the trial began in October, Engoron found Trump liable for the fraud and ordered the companies controlling corners of his real estate empire, including Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in lower Manhattan, to be dissolved. This ruling is on hold until Trump appeals the ruling, and its practical implications remain unclear.

This case is part of the spiral of legal problems that Trump faces as he marches toward the Republican nomination to face Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2024 elections.

He faces indictment in Washington and Georgia for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, in Florida for his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House, and in New York for secret payments to a porn star.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all cases and said they were political witch hunts. (Reporting by Jack Quinn, Editing by Noeleen Walder and Jonathan Oatis)

(Tags for translation)Donald Trump

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