Politics - News Analysis

Legal Reporters Hint at ‘Rumblings’ of Potential Trump Settlement Talks in NY Fraud Case

It would be an admission of guilt, but I'd rather see him get the max.

For legal analysts across the nation, there has been absolutely no news other than Trump news for a long time. His indictments have been the basis of nearly all reporting since his court travails began.

Now the conversation has taken a new twist.

As a political analyst myself, a lot of my friends ask me to distill what’s going on in the news for them, to help them understand it in layman’s terms. That’s sort of difficult because there are so many layers to what’s happening. There are cases in which Trump is more or less likely to be found guilty on all counts, and there’s at least one case in which jail — unless he violates the terms of the trial orders — is off the table.

That’s the civil fraud trial in New York. A civil trial almost never results in jail time, barring infractions of very specific orders by the presiding judge. For example, Judge Arthur Engoron can and has imposed a gag order on Donald Trump, and violating it may wind him up in jail — but that would have nothing to do with the merits of the actual case.

Just Trump ignoring the judge, as usual.

But most of us, since jail is not likely in the New York case, would like to see him get the worst of whatever could happen to him in Engoron’s courtroom. And that means being fined as much as possible. Attorney General James already set the “ask” at $250 million, but the judge could rule that Trump owes even MORE in restitution due to the fallout to other people and companies from his illegal behavior.

So when MSNBC analyst Lisa Rubin and Law360 reporter Frank Runyeon each took to social media to speculate that Trump may be trying to steer the case toward a settlement, it felt a little bittersweet. Not only would he get out of actual incarceration, but he’d almost be able to set the terms of his own punishment, by coming to an agreement with the judge over what he would owe.

Yes, it would be him admitting guilt, but that doesn’t seem like enough.

But at least one analyst, Jose Pagliery of the Daily Beast, posted the he thought it would be a “cold day in hell” before Trump and AG James came to a settlement in the case.

“The judge might drown Trump in fines ranging from $250 million to a gazillion dollars. And the entire Trump Org could end up in receivership soon,” said Pagliery. “What would the Trumps [Donald, Eric, and Junior] counteroffer?”

That makes me feel a little better, knowing they really don’t have a leg to stand on. Donald Trump has prided himself on being able to claim “I wasn’t convicted” every time he reaches a settlement in the hundreds of court cases he’s faced.

This time, I hope the offer’s not even on the table.

meet the author

Andrew is a dark blue speck in deep red Central Washington, writing with the conviction of 18 years at the keyboard and too much politics to even stand. When not furiously stabbing the keys on breaking news stories, he writes poetry, prose, essays, haiku, lectures, stories for grief therapy, wedding ceremonies, detailed instructions on making doughnuts from canned biscuit dough (more sugar than cinnamon — duh), and equations to determine the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. A girlfriend, a dog, two cats, and two birds round out the equation, and in his spare time, Drewbear likes to imagine what it must be like to have spare time.


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