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Judge Engoron issues ruling in NY business case

Judge Engoron issues ruling in NY business case

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump departs following speaking to the press after attending the civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization in New York State Supreme Court, in New York City on Jan. 11, 2024.

John Lamparski | AFP | Getty Images

A New York judge Friday ordered Donald Trump to pay more than $350 million in total penalties as part of his ruling in the former president’s civil business fraud trial.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron delivered the final decision from the trial, which was held without a jury.

Trump is expected to appeal the ruling.

The explosive trial stemmed from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit accusing Trump, his two adult sons, his company and top executives of fraudulently inflating Trump’s assets to boost his stated net worth and obtain various financial perks.

Friday’s decision is only the latest court-ordered punishment imposed on Trump, who is running for president while dealing with numerous criminal and civil lawsuits. Last month, a jury in a separate civil case in New York federal court ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million for defaming writer E. Jean Carroll when he responded to her claim that he had raped her in the mid-1990s.

Read more on this Trump fraud trial

Trump is the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, setting up a likely rematch with President Joe Biden, who beat him in 2020.

Trump has frequently raged against his many legal battles as “witch hunts,” claiming they are part of a Biden administration-backed conspiracy to tank his political ambitions.

He vociferously denies all wrongdoing in the New York fraud case, blaring his claims of total innocence on social media, at the courthouse and even on the witness stand.

Trump claimed to be worth far more than what was reported on his financial statements, while asserting that a disclaimer on the records protected him from liability for any inaccuracies.

But Trump and the other defendants were found liable for fraud by Engoron before the trial even began.

In a bombshell pretrial ruling, Engoron granted summary judgment on James’ main cause of action — that the defendants committed fraud in violation of New York law.

Engoron found that Trump’s statements of financial condition between 2014 and 2021 overvalued his assets between $812 million and $2.2 billion.

The ruling razed Trump’s defense claims, accusing him and his co-defendants of trying to convince the court to “not believe its own eyes.”

Engoron also ordered the cancellation of the defendants’ business certificates and the appointment of an independent receiver to manage the dissolution of Trump’s corporate entities. Some experts have described the ruling as a “death penalty” for the Trump Organization.

But that order was put on hold during the trial, which was conducted to determine the amount to be paid in penalties and resolve other claims of wrongdoing from James’ lawsuit.

The trial also doubled as a soapbox for Trump to air his grievances about his perceived political foes, including those sitting feet away from him in court.

On the witness stand, Trump railed against Engoron and James while defending the values that were reported on his statements of financial condition. Trump also tore into another key witness, his former fixer and personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who testified that Trump had directed him to falsely manipulate his net worth.

Trump’s venting brought consequences. On the second day of the trial, Engoron imposed a narrow gag order after Trump repeatedly targeted the judge’s principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, who sat in court.

Trump violated the gag order twice within four weeks, catching fines totaling $15,000.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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