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New York judge fines Trump over $350 million in fraud case

February 16, 2024

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled against the former president, making him liable for $354.9 million. The order also barred Trump from business in New York for three years.

Former US President Donald Trump during hearing at Manhattan criminal court
Trump has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions and barred from operating businesses in New York due to fraudImage: /AP Photo/picture alliance

A US judge on Friday ordered Donald Trump to pay nearly $355 million (€329.4 million) for fraud.

He also banned Trump from operating businesses in the state of New York for three years.

"The Court hereby enjoins Donald Trump... from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years," Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in his ruling.

He said that Trump and other defendants in the case "are incapable of admitting the error of their ways" and showed a "lack of contrition and remorse."

Trump condemned the ruling as a "sham."

"This 'decision' is a Complete and Total SHAM," he said on his Truth Social platform, calling the judge "crooked" and the prosecutor "totally corrupt."

Trump's adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, were each ordered to pay $4 million in the same ruling.

Trump could pay over $400 million including interest.

What is the civil fraud case against Donald Trump?

Trump had been accused of providing banks and others with fraudulent financial statements that inflated his wealth.

The civil case against Trump was brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is a Democrat. She sued the former president in 2022 under a state law that allows her to investigate persistent fraud in business dealings.

Before the triral began, Engoron ruled that James had proven the statements were fraudulent and ordered that some of Trump's companies be removed from his control and dissolved. An appeals court put the ruling on hold.

By inflating his wealth, Trump qualified for better terms for loans and saved on interest, lawyers argued. They said he exaggerated his wealth by as much as $3.6 billion one year.

The former president's lawyers said that they would appeal the verdict.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba called the ruling a "manifest injustice" and the "culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt."

"This is not just about Donald Trump — if this decision stands, it will serve as a signal to every single American that New York is no longer open for business," she said.

Trump testified that the statements in question actually understated his net worth and that banks did their own research. "There was no victim. There was no anything," Trump said in November.

He also called Engoron "extremely hostile" and James "a political hack." He said that the case was an example of "fraud" against him.

Trump's lawyers argued that the financial statements came with disclaimers that protected him from liability and that some of the allegations were barred by the statue of limitations.

Trump faces multiple indictments

Trump faces a number of legal challenges as he campaigns to be elected as president.

He has been indicted four times in the last year. He has been accused in Georgia and Washington, D.C. of plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss, in Florida of unlawfully storing classified documents at his private residence and in Manhattan of falsifying business records related to hush money paid to porn actor Stormy Daniels.

On Thursday, a judge confirmed that the hush money trial will start on March 25.In January, a jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carrol after it found he defamed he after she accused him of assautling her in the 1990s.

sdi/wd (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)