Donald Trump fined $364m as judge rules against him in New York civil fraud case

16 February 2024, 20:20 | Updated: 16 February 2024, 21:30

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Donald Trump has been fined $364 million (£288 million) over what a New York judge ruled was a years-long scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated his wealth.

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Mr Trump was also banned from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation for three years.

But the judge backed away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved the former president's companies.

Mr Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba, called the verdict "manifest injustice" and "the culmination of a multi-year, politically fuelled witch hunt".

Judge Arthur Engoron issued his decision after a two-and-a-half-month trial.

Mr Trump and his companies were ordered to pay $355 million (£288 million). His eldest sons, Trump Organisation Executive Vice Presidents Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, each were ordered to pay $4million (£3.1 million).

Former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg was ordered to pay one million (£793,600).

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Mr Engoron said Mr Trump and his co-defendants "failed to accept responsibility" for their actions and that expert witnesses who testified for the defence "simply denied reality".

The judge called the civil fraud at the heart of the trial a "venial sin, not a mortal sin".

"They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff," he said. "Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways."

He said their "complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological".

"The frauds found here leap off the page and shock the conscience," the judge added.

The penalty was a victory for New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who sued Mr Trump over what she said was not just harmless bragging but years of deceptive practices as he built a multi-national collection of skyscrapers, golf courses and other properties that catapulted him to wealth, fame and the White House.

The former president was also banned from getting loans from New York banks for three years.

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