Trump barred from operating business, ordered to pay over $350 million in NY civil fraud case


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Former President Donald Trump was barred from operating his business in New York for three years and was found liable for more than $350 million in damages in the civil fraud case brought against him, his family and the Trump Organization by New York Attorney General Letitia James. 

New York Judge Arthur Engoron handed down his ruling Friday after a months-long trial beginning in October and stemming from James’ lawsuit alleging the former president inflated his assets and committed fraud. 

Engoron ruled that Trump and defendants were liable for “persistent and repeated fraud,” “falsifying business records,” “issuing false financial statements,” “conspiracy to falsify false financial statements,” “insurance fraud,” and “conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.” 

Engoron also barred Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or legal entity in New York for two years. 

Engoron also “permanently” barred defendants Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, and the ormer corporate controller Jeffrey McConney from “serving in the financial control function of any New York corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York State,” and as a director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for three years. 

Engoron, in his 92-page ruling, criticized Trump and his testimony during trial, saying that he “rarely responded to the questions asked, and he frequently interjected long, irrelevant speeches on issues far beyond the scope of the trial.” 

“His refusal to answer the questions directly, or in some cases, at all, severely compromised his credibility,” Engoron wrote. 

Trump attorney Christopher Kise slammed the decision saying the court “ignored the law, ignored the facts, and simply signed off on the Attorney General’s manifestly unjust political crusade against the front-running candidate for President of the United States.” 

“Legal cases are supposed to be decided based on the application of established legal principles to the actual evidence,” Kise said. “During 44 days of trial, not one witness, not one complaint, and not one victim supported the Attorney General’s manufactured claims of ‘fraud.’  Moreover, the evidence established President Trump’s net worth far exceeded what was reported in his financial statements.” 

Kise said “even the bankers actually involved in the loans testified there was nothing misleading, there was no fraud, and the transactions were all highly profitable.” 

“But the Court blatantly refused to follow a binding Appellate Division decision, ignored and twisted the evidence, and imposed a draconian and unconstitutional fine and a corporate ‘death penalty’ on President Trump, his family, and the extraordinary global business empire he developed over a lifetime of hard work and achievement,” Kise continued. “Hard to imagine a more unfair process and hard to believe this is happening in America.: 

Kise added: “Make no mistake, the sobering future consequences of this tyrannical abuse of power do not just impact President Trump.” 

Kise said that “when a Court willingly allows a reckless government official to meddle in the lawful, private, and profitable affairs of any citizen based on political bias, America’s economic prosperity and way of life are at extreme risk of extinction.” 

“Both the trial and this unprincipled decision have certainly diminished public confidence in the integrity of the legal system,” he said, adding that,  “left unchecked, this decision will cause irreparable damage to both the business community and the rule of law in our country.” 

Kise said Trump “will of course appeal and remains confident the Appellate Division will ultimately correct the innumerable and catastrophic errors made by a trial court untethered to the law or to reality.”

The former president’s attorney Alina Habba also blasted the verdict as “a manifest injustice – plain and simple.” 

“It is the culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt that was designed to ‘take down Donald Trump,’ before Letitia James ever stepped foot into the Attorney General’s office. Countless hours of testimony proved that there was no wrongdoing, no crime, and no victim,” Habba said. “Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients.” 

Habba added: “Let me make one thing perfectly clear: this is not just about Donald Trump – if this decision stands, it will serve as a signal to every single American that New York is no longer open for business.” 

New York Attorney General Letitia James brought the lawsuit accusing Trump and the Trump Organization of fraudulent business practices. The court proceedings were contentious, with Engoron repeatedly placing Trump under a partial gag order to prevent him from criticizing court staff.

James had sought $370 million, plus 9% interest in penalties from Trump. Any awarded funds would go to the New York State Treasury, unless directed elsewhere by the state comptroller.

Trump dismissed the trial as a “witch hunt” throughout the process, accusing both Engoron and James of serving as political operatives for Democrats. Trump’s legal team also repeatedly blasted the lack of a jury in the trial.

TRUMP VISITS MANHATTAN COURT TO BLAST NYAG CASE, PRAISES APPELLATE RULING IN HIS FAVOR

Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd at a campaign event on July 1, 2023 in Pickens, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

“There was never an option to choose a jury trial,” a Trump spokesperson told Fox News Digital last month. “It is unfortunate that a jury won’t be able to hear how absurd the merits of this case are and conclude no wrongdoing ever happened.”

TRUMP’S GAG ORDER CHALLENGE IN NEW YORK AG LETITIA JAMES’ CIVIL SUIT REJECTED

Trump and his family denied any wrongdoing, with the former president saying his assets had been undervalued. Trump’s legal team insisted that his financial statements had disclaimers, and made it clear to banks that they should conduct their own assessments.

Trump has said his financial statements were “perfect,” and stressed that the bank loans were repaid and are “as happy as can be.”  

Throughout the trial, Trump attorneys brought witnesses, including former Deutsche Bank top executives, who testified the banks sought additional business from Trump, who they viewed as a “whale of a client.”

Trump’s defense also brought in expert witnesses, including New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov, who reviewed the Trump financial statements at issue in the case and said he found no evidence of accounting fraud.

Judge Arthur Engoron

Judge Arthur Engoron presides over the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump and his children at New York State Supreme Court on Nov. 13, 2023, in New York City. (Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Bartov testified last month that Trump’s financial statements did not violate accounting principles, and he suggested that anything problematic — like a huge year-to-year leap in the estimated value of his Trump Tower penthouse — was simply an error.

“My main finding is that there is no evidence whatsoever of any accounting fraud,” Bartov testified. Trump’s financial statements, he said, “were not materially misstated.”

James’ office had requested that Engoron ban Trump, his sons and the other defendants from applying for loans in New York for five years, in addition to blocking the Trump Organization from handling any real estate business for the same period.

JUDGE IMPOSES PARTIAL GAG ORDER IN TRUMP ORG TRIAL, BLOCKING PARTIES FROM VERBAL ATTACKS AGAINST COURT STAFF

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks outside New York Supreme Court

New York Attorney General Letitia James brought the case forward accusing Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, of fraudulent business practices. (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

Trump and his team have pointed to James’ comments to supporters as she ran for her position.

“We’re definitely gonna sue him, we’re gonna be a real pain in the a–,” James once told a supporter on video.

James also once said Trump was an “existential threat,” and said “the No. 1 issue in this country is defeating Donald Trump.”

“Nothing else matters,” James said.

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In September, Engoron ruled that Trump and the Trump Organization had committed fraud while building his real estate empire by deceiving banks, insurers and others by overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.

“He ruled against me without knowing anything about me,” Trump said on the stand during the trial last year. “He called me a fraud, and he didn’t know anything about me.”

Engoron’s ruling comes weeks after Trump was ordered to pay over $83 million in a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of sexual assault.



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