Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Up next
Listen live on

Judge orders Trump to pay US$364m in New York civil fraud case

Publish Date
Sat, 17 Feb 2024, 4:47pm
Photo / AP
Photo / AP

Judge orders Trump to pay US$364m in New York civil fraud case

Publish Date
Sat, 17 Feb 2024, 4:47pm

A New York judge ruled against Donald Trump, imposing a US$364 million ($594m) penalty over what the judge ruled was a years-long scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated the former president’s wealth.  

Judge Arthur Engoron issued his decision after a 2½-month trial that had the Republican presidential front-runner bristling under oath that he was the victim of a rigged legal system.  

The stiff penalty was a victory for New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, who sued 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. 

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

It has already been a big week in court for Trump. On Thursday, a different New York judge ruled that Trump will stand trial on 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 on 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. 

James’ office has estimated Trump exaggerated his wealth by as much as US$3.6 billion ($5.8b). State lawyers contend Trump used the inflated numbers to get lower insurance premiums and favourable loan terms, saving at least US$168 million) on interest alone. 

Trump has denied wrongdoing and his lawyers have said they’ll appeal if Engoron rules against him. 

The Republican presidential front-runner testified on November 6 that his financial statements understated his net worth, and that banks did their own research and were happy with his business. During closing arguments in January, he decried the case as a “fraud on me”. 

Engoron is deciding six claims in James’ lawsuit, including allegations of conspiracy, falsifying business records and insurance fraud. State lawyers alleged Trump exaggerated his wealth by as much as US$3.6 billion one year. 

Before the trial, Engoron ruled on James’ top claim, finding that Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent. As punishment, the judge ordered some of his companies removed from his control and dissolved. An appeals court has put that on hold.  

Because the case is civil and not criminal in nature, there is no possibility of prison time. 

-Michael R. Sisak, AP

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you