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Former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo)

Trump Ordered to Pay $364M in NY Civil Case, Barred from Doing Business There

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A New York judge delivered a significant defeat in court Friday for Donald Trump, finding the former president liable in a civil fraud trial. 

Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a $364 million penalty for what he ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth.

The ruling came after a 2½-month trial. Engoron concluded that Trump and his co-defendants “failed to accept responsibility” for their actions and that expert witnesses who testified for the defense “simply denied reality.”

The judge called the civil fraud at the heart of the trial a “venial sin, not a mortal sin.” But Engoron said the refusal by Trump and his associates to admit wrongdoing suggested they would continue if not constrained. 

“Their complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological,” added Engoron, a Democrat.

slider img 2The former president is also barred from doing business in New York for three years.

However, the judge backed away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved the former president’s companies. 

Trump attorney Alina Habba called the verdict “manifest injustice" and “the culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt.”

Trump’s lawyers had said even before the verdict that they would appeal.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, also a Democrat, sued the Republican presidential frontrunner in 2022 under a state law that authorizes her to investigate persistent fraud in business dealings.

The suit accused Trump and his co-defendants of routinely puffing up his financial statements to create an illusion his properties were more valuable than they really were. State lawyers said Trump exaggerated his wealth by as much as $3.6 billion one year.

State lawyers argued that, by making himself seem richer, Trump qualified for better loan terms, saved on interest, and was able to complete projects he might otherwise not have finished.

Even before the trial began, Engoron ruled that James had proven Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent. The judge ordered some of Trump’s companies removed from his control and dissolved. An appeals court put that decision on hold.
Trump and his lawyers have said the outside accountants who helped prepare the statements should’ve flagged any discrepancies and that the documents came with disclaimers that shielded him from liability. They also argued that some of the allegations were barred by the statute of limitations.

“There was no victim. There was no anything,” Trump testified in November.

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