Trump Ordered to Pay $355 Million In New York Fraud Case

trump civil fraud ruling

Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $355 million in damages and barred the former president “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 handed the ruling down on Friday in the wake of Trump and the Trump Organization being found liable for financial fraud. Engoron also ordered Trump’s adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, to pay $4 million each

Trump is expected to appeal the ruling.

The scathing decision concludes a contentious, high-profile lawsuit that New York Attorney General Letitia James brought against Trump in September of 2022. James accused the former president, his adult children, and several of his associates, of committing widespread fraud through his real estate empire.

Engoron had already ruled last September that Trump was liable for fraud. The trial that followed was meant exclusively to determine the punishment — which turned out to be stiff.

The ruling comes just weeks after a jury ordered Trump to pay E. Jean Carroll, whom he sexually assaulted in the ‘90s, over $83 million in defamation-related damages. Trump had already been ordered to pay Carroll $5 million last year, and the fine Engoron handed down on Friday means the frontrunner to land the Republican nomination for president now owes over $440 million in civil litigation penalties. The weight of all of this, on top of the financial costs of paying for lawyers handling Trump’s vast array of criminal prosecution and other matters, has led to exploding legal bills and a gigantic money drain in the middle of Trump’s campaign to retake the White House. 

Trump’s team is gearing up for a protracted conflict over Engoron’s judgment. In conversations with lawyers and other advisers in recent months, Trump has indicated he expects to be fighting for his business empire’s survival for quite a while, and maybe even into a potential second presidential term.

In these discussions, according to a person with knowledge of the matter and another source briefed on it, Trump has agreed that he should expect an appeals process in the New York civil fraud case to go on potentially for years. “He is aware this could take a … [while] to resolve,” says the source familiar with the situation. Trump, this person adds, “feels good about his chances” at appeal. Indeed, the heavily chaotic approach that Trump and his legal team brought to this trial since last year was built off of an internal assumption that defeat in this trial was a foregone conclusion, and that appealing was their only hope.

The fact that Trump and his lawyers are buckling in for possibly years of this — not to mention all the other cases piled up against Trump, including federal and criminal ones — reflects a broader sentiment that has consumed the former president since the deadly Jan. 6 riot. During the weeks immediately following the Capitol assault that Trump instigated, he began complaining to aides and other close associates that his enemies are going to be investigating and ”suing me for the rest of my life” after his presidency.

Trump, as it were, was likely on to something, given all of the legal and criminal exposure that he and his inner orbit have enjoyed in recent years.

Engoron penalized Trump for overvaluing his properties and inflating his net worth over several years, thus deceiving banks, investors, and insurers. In his September liability ruling, the judge agreed with New York prosecutors who argued that the former president had exaggerated the value of his assets by hundreds of millions — and even billions — of dollars, with the largest discrepancy being an over-valuation of more than $2.2 billion in 2014. The outsized valuations were then used by Trump and his organization to secure favorable loans and business deals from financial institutions and lenders. 

Regardless of whether the appeal process stretches on for years, Trump and his allies are hoping it at least does so into his second White House term — under their assumption of Trump beating Biden in the November election. The twice-impeached, repeatedly indicted former president and his MAGA policy braintrust has sprawling plans and blueprints ready to go for the start of a potential new administration, in which they’d enact massive programs aimed at revenge and score-settling. 

Late last year, according to a Trump adviser, the former president began asking people close to him if a future DOJ could explore ways to go after Engoron and the New York attorney general. Some of his counselors have told him that though it’s worth looking into, actually doing so would present its own unique hurdles and challenges for Justice Department lawyers. (For instance, New York has its own state agency that specializes in probing misconduct allegations against sitting judges.)

Trump has been attacking Engron and others involved in the case as much as he can in the meantime, continuously raging at the judge and prosecutors, accusing them of committing election interference by not simply letting him get away with fraud. He wrote on Truth Social last month that the “case should have been dismissed long ago. It is a Political Persecution. The State should get No Damages whatsoever!” 

The post was one in a long chain of harassment Trump has leveled against Engoron and his staff, both in and out of court. Over the course of the trial, Trump was fined twice, and threatened with jail time, for violating a narrowly tailored gag order put in place by Engoron after he attacked one of the judge’s clerks on social media. 

The clashes between Trump and Engoron came to a head in November when the former president took the witness stand and repeatedly attempted to rant at the court about his political grievances. At one point during Trump’s testimony, the judge threatened to have him removed from the witness stand if his lawyers couldn’t get him under control. “This is not a political rally,” Engoron told Trump’s attorneys. “I beseech you to control him if you can … if you can’t, I will. I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can.”

Trump seemed to relish in the judge’s attempts to maintain order in the court, regularly complaining to his followers and supporters about Engoron’s treatment of him. In November, the New York court system reported that Engoron and his clerk, Allison Greenfield, had received a “deluge [in] the court’s chambers phone and the law clerk’s personal cell phone, personal emails and social media accounts [of] hundreds of threatening, harassing, disparaging and antisemitic messages.” The court noted that it considers the threats “to be serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative.” Hours before the trial’s closing arguments were scheduled to begin last month, the judge was the target of a swatting attempt at his home in Long Island.

Trump planned to personally deliver his closing argument, with Rolling Stone reporting that he spent days rehearsing his remarks. Trump never got the chance to deliver what would have surely been a rage-filled, vengeful screed against the court, however, with Engoron denying the former president after his legal team refused to agree to conditions that would restrict him from going off-topic or attacking individuals involved in the trial. 


Regardless of Engoron’s denial, the former president attempted to deliver his remarks without permission, calling the trial a “political witch hunt,” and demanding that he and his co-defendants “should receive damages for what we went through.”  

It seems Engoron was not swayed.

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