Donald Trump NY case ruling: Judge rules Donald Trump, Eric and Don Jr. must pay $354 million in New York civil fraud trial


NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump must pay $354 million for fraudulent business practices, Judge Arthur Engoron has ruled.

Trump’s sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have been fined $4 million apiece, and former Trump Organization CFO has been fined $1 million.

The decision bars Trump barred from being an officer of a New York company for three years, and bars his sons for two years apiece.

Regarding the dissolution of Trump’s companies, the decision says, “This Court hereby modifies its September 26, 2023, Decision and Order solely to the extent of removing the language ordering the LLCs cancellation en masse. The restructuring and potential dissolution of any LLCs shall be subject to individual review by the Court appointed Independent Director of Compliance in consultation with Judge Jones.”

Former President Donald Trump must pay $354 million for fraudulent business practices, Judge Arthur Engoron has ruled.

In his decision, Engoron wrote that “Defendants’ refusal to admit error — indeed, to continue it, according to the Independent Monitor — constrains this Court to conclude that they will engage in it going forward unless judicially restrained.”

“Overall, Donald Trump rarely responded to the questions asked, and he frequently interjected long, irrelevant speeches on issues far beyond the scope of the trial,” the judge wrote. “His refusal to answer the questions directly, or in some cases, at all, severely compromised his credibility.”

Engoron’s decision follows an 11-week civil trial in New York, where Trump and three of his adult children testified.

Trump family judgments in civil fraud case.

Trump family judgments in civil fraud case.

ABC News

Judge Engoron took direct aim at several of the Trumps’ core defenses, including Trump’s claim that real estate appraisal is imprecise and subjective, and that property valuations reflect nuances in the market that only sophisticated practitioners can understand.

Engoron called that argument a “great red herring in this case.”

“True enough, as appraising is an art as well as a science,” Engoron wrote. “However, the science part cannot be fraudulent. When two appraisals rely on starkly different assumptions, that is not evidence of a difference of opinion, that is evidence of deceit.”

Engoron also undercut a common refrain from defendants’ that their accountants were responsible for maintaining above-board business practices.

In a section of his ruling titled, “Blame the Accountants,” Engoron wrote that, “There is overwhelming evidence … that the buck for being truthful in the supporting data valuations stopped with the Trump Organization, not the accountants.”

Judge Engoron, in his decision, excoriated the Trumps and their co-defendants for their “complete lack of contrition and remorse” that he said “borders on pathological.”

“They are accused only of inflating asset values to make more money. The documents prove this over and over again. This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin.”

“Defendants did not commit murder or arson,” the judge wrote. “They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff. Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways. Instead, they adopt a ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ posture that the evidence belies.”

Judge Engoron vacated his September order canceling the defendants’ business certificates, instead ordering an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization for at least three years.

He also ordered an Independent Director of Compliance be installed at the company.

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, his two adult sons, and Trump Organization executives in September 2022 for issuing fraudulent financial statements — including over 200 false and misleading asset values between 2011 and 2021 — to get better loan terms and business deals.

Throughout the lengthy trial, Trump mocked the attorney general and her legal team-and has ridiculed Engoron. The former president repeatedly insisted-without evidence-that he’s the victim of a Democratic conspiracy to destroy his business and to foil his re-election campaign.

Trump family reacts to ruling: ‘Insane’

Members of the Trump family and their attorneys roundly called the ruling unjust and indicated they plan to appeal.

Eric Trump told ABC News the judgment against him and his family is “a total joke” and “insane.” He said the family will immediately appeal the ruling, which he said shows the court and the attorney general in his opinion are “living in an alternate universe.”

Donald Trump Jr. accused the case of being politically motivated.

“We’ve reached the point where your political beliefs combined with what venue your case is heard are the primary determinants of the outcome; not the facts of the case!” he said in a statement to ABC News.

Donald Trump’s lawyer, Chris Kise, also claimed the case was an “unjust political crusade” against the leading Republican presidential candidate and that there was no evidence of fraud.

“Hard to imagine a more unfair process and hard to believe this is happening in America,” Kise said, adding that the former president “will of course appeal.”

Donald Trump’s legal spokesperson, Alina Habba, called the verdict a “manifest injustice” and the “culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt.”

“Countless hours of testimony proved that there was no wrongdoing, no crime, and no victim,” Habba said in a statement. “Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients.”

The Trump Organization also said the ruling was a “gross miscarriage of justice.”

“Every member of the New York business community, no matter the industry, should be gravely concerned with this gross overreach and brazen attempt by the Attorney General to exert limitless power where no private or public harm has been established,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “If allowed to stand, this ruling will only further expedite the continuing exodus of companies from New York.”

Trump’s other legal cases

It has already been a big week in court for Trump. On Thursday, a different New York judge ruled that Trump will stand trial March 25 on charges that he falsified his company’s records as part of an effort to buy the silence of people with potentially embarrassing stories about alleged infidelity. Trump says he is innocent.

If the schedule holds, it will be the first of his four criminal cases to go to trial.

Also Thursday, a judge in Atlanta heard arguments on whether to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from Trump’s Georgia election interference case because she had a personal relationship with a special prosecutor she hired.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024 ABC, Inc.


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