Former President Donald Trump is expected to attend Thursday’s hearing in the New York hush money criminal case, according to Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead attorney for the Georgia election subversion case.
Trump had considered traveling to Georgia on Thursday for a hearing in the criminal case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis but is now planning to attend the hearing in New York, multiple sources familiar with the matter said. His expected court appearance comes just before the former president could face another consequential legal decision – this time on the fate of his business empire in New York.
Both hearings are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Initially, Trump was intrigued by the idea of traveling to Georgia if Willis was forced to take the stand and answer questions under oath about allegations she engaged in an improper romantic relationship with her top deputy, Nathan Wade, one of the sources told CNN.
A judge on Monday did not rule out the possibility that Willis will have to testify but made clear that is contingent on what other witnesses say first.
Trump’s advisers made the case that the New York hearing is more important as it is a criminal case that directly impacts him, according to a source familiar with internal discussions.
Trump was charged last March with falsifying business records to commit or conceal another crime. Prosecutors allege that the former president engaged in a cover up scheme to hide reimbursement payments made to his former attorney, Michael Cohen who had paid hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels to stop her from going public about a past affair with Trump before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the 34 charges and denied the affair.
The hearing in Fulton County is largely viewed by those advisers as procedural despite the possibility of Willis taking the stand and facing disqualification.
As always, senior advisers warned that Trump could still change his mind last minute and decide to attend the hearing in Georgia, however that is not currently the plan.
Trump civil fraud trial decision expected Friday
Trump, barring unforeseen circumstances, will also learn on Friday how much the judge overseeing the civil fraud case in New York is ordering him and his real estate business to pay for fraudulently inflating financial statements for a decade, a person familiar with knowledge of the decision said.
Judge Arthur Engoron initially said he hoped to issue the ruling at the end of January, following a three-month trial. Since then, the monitor overseeing the Trump Organization issued a report, and the judge inquired about news articles of a possible perjury plea deal by former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.
It appears any delays caused by those two events have now been resolved.
The New York attorney general’s office sued Trump alleging he engaged in a decadelong fraud by inflating the value of properties to obtain better rates on loans and insurance. They also allege Trump and others violated numerous other New York laws related to the issuance of false financial statements.
The state is seeking more than $370 million and to ban Trump from doing business in New York state. They are also seeking to ban his two adult sons from running a business in the state for five years.
Trump and his adult sons have denied any wrongdoing and said no one was harmed by the alleged fraud.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Jack Forrest contributed to this report.
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