Donald Trump fined 364 million dollars in civil fraud case

17 February 2024, 09:24

Election 2024 Trump Abortion
Election 2024 Trump Abortion. Picture: PA

The civil trial lasted for two and a half months and Mr Trump’s lawyers have already confirmed they will appeal the decision.

A New York judge imposed a 364 million dollars (£288 million) penalty on Donald Trump, his companies and some executives on Friday, ruling that they engaged in a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth.

Mr Trump will not have to pay out the money immediately as an appeals process plays out, but the verdict still is a stunning setback for the former president.

Mr Engoron concluded that 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”.

Trump Hush Money
Former President Donald Trump was also banned from holding executive office at a New York company (Mary Altaffer/AP)

“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,” wrote Mr Engoron.

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.

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

Trump Fraud Lawsuit
Donald Trump has blended his court appearances with campaigning as he seeks another term in the White House (Michael Santiago/AP)

However, 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, which saw the Republican presidential front-runner bristling under oath that he was the victim of a rigged legal system.

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

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

Mr Trump called the verdict a “Complete and Total sham”.

Trump Hush Money
Former President Donald Trump was fined 364 million dollars (Mary Altaffer/AP)

He wrote on his Truth Social platform that New York Attorney General Letitia James “has been obsessed with ‘Getting Trump’ for years” and that Mr Engoron’s decision was “an illegal, unAmerican judgment against me, my family, and my tremendous business”.

The stiff 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 the multinational collection of skyscrapers, golf courses and other properties that catapulted him to wealth, fame and the White House.

The total 364 million dollar fine, which Ms James’ office said grows to 450 million dollars (£357 million), adding interest, keeps the Trump Organisation in business.

The judge backed away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved the former president’s companies. But if upheld, the verdict will force a shakeup at the top of the company.

Trump Fraud Lawsuit
Justice Arthur Engoron ruled against Trump, imposing a 364 million dollar penalty over what he ruled was a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth (Erin Schaff/The New York Times/AP)

In a statement, Ms James said “justice has been served” and called the ruling “a tremendous victory for this state, this nation, and for everyone who believes that we all must play by the same rules — even former presidents”.

“Now, Donald Trump is finally facing accountability for his lying, cheating and staggering fraud. Because no matter how big, rich or powerful you think you are, no one is above the law,” Ms James said.

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

The suit is one of many legal headaches for Mr Trump as he campaigns for a return to the White House.

He has been indicted four times in the last year — accused in Georgia and Washington DC of plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, in Florida of hoarding classified documents, and in Manhattan of falsifying business records related to hush money paid to porn actor Stormy Daniels on his behalf.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Donald Trump in court

Full jury of 12 and six alternatives selected in Donald Trump hush money trial

Trump Hush Money

Police to review security at Trump courthouse after man sets himself on fire

Donald Trump

Trump’s hush money case to go ahead after judge rejects latest bid to delay

Trump Hush Money

Man in critical condition after setting himself on fire outside Trump courthouse

Paramedics attended to a person who lit themselves on fire near Manhattan Criminal Court

Horror as man sets himself on fire outside Donald Trump's hush money trial in New York

Iran Mideast Tensions

Israel and Iran play down apparent Israeli air strike near nuclear site

France Iran

Police in Paris detain man wearing fake explosives vest at Iranian consulate

Pakistan Suicide Attack

Japanese workers narrowly escape suicide bombing in Pakistan

India Election Narendra Modi

India starts voting as Narendra Modi seeks third term as prime minister

Police officers patrol

No weapons found after police detain man at Iranian consulate in Paris

Congress Ukraine Israel

Ukraine and Israel aid back on track as US House pushes towards weekend votes

Leonid Volkov

Two suspects held in Poland after attack on Navalny ally in Lithuania

Denmark Fire

Firefighters tackle scaffolding dangling outside fire-ravaged Danish landmark

Ruben Vardanyan

Ex-Russian tycoon who led separatist region launches hunger strike in Azerbaijan

Rain in Dubai

Three dead amid heavy flooding after record rain in UAE

Scenes in Iran

Iran fires at apparent Israeli attack drones near air base and nuclear site