Judge Fines Donald Trump $350 Million, Bars Him from Running His Businesses in NY for 3 Years

Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP

The judge presiding over the civil business fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Leitita James against Donald Trump and his company issued a decision in the case on Friday.

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled Trump violated the law and ordered the former president and the Trump Organization to pay more than $350 million in damages. He also barred Trump “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.”

The Case

In September 2022, the New York Attorney General’s Office, led by James, filed a lawsuit against Trump and several of his family members, associates, and businesses alleging “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” regarding financial statements.

At the time, James claimed her office interviewed 65 witnesses and reviewed millions of documents as part of an investigation into Trump that began in 2019 after she was elected. She said the evidence showed Trump submitted “more than 200 false and misleading asset valuations” that “inflated his net worth by billions of dollars.”

In late September, Judge Engoron ruled in a 35-page summary judgment that the former president and his company deceived banks and insurers by over-inflating the value of his assets and net-worth. 

As punishment, Engoron ordered some of Trump’s business licenses be rescinded, hindering his ability to do business in the state. The ruling also cleared the way for a no-jury civil trial to begin. 
Trump attended portions of the trial, which quickly became a spectacle when Engoron was caught hamming it up for cameras that were briefly allowed in the courtroom.

The Verdict

On Friday, Engoron delivered his 92-page decision. He ordered the Trump Organization to pay over $350 million, which is in line with the $370 million plus interest in penalties that James was seeking.

While a lifetime ban from operating businesses in the state of New York was on the table, Engoron instead barred the former president for three years. He cannot serve as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in the state, and he cannot apply for loans from any financial institution chartered by or registered with the New York financial services department.

The judgment comes on the heels of Trump being ordered to pay E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million in her Manhattan civil defamation case against him. Additionally, Judge Juan Merchan denied Trump’s motion to dismiss his New York criminal hush money case on Thursday, clearing the way for the trial to begin on March 25.

The Likely Appeal

Speaking before Engoron’s judgment came down on Friday, Megyn called the case a “bet-your-business litigation” for Trump. “He didn’t ask for it, but he got it,” she said. “Attorney General Letitia James campaigned on getting Trump and it appears today she will.”

Of all the civil and criminal litigation the 2024 GOP hopeful faces, Megyn said this one carried a lot of weight. “I was told by people close to Trump that this is the case he cares most about because it’s his business,” she shared.

As such, this verdict will almost certainly be appealed. “There’s no question that this Judge Engoron is a Democratic operative and is going to drop the hammer on Trump,” attorney Mike Davis said prior to the decision. “I think Trump is going to win on appeal because this is obviously an absurd case.”

He believes the former president’s legal team will have a legitimate case. “How do you have fraud when you have a businessman paying back sophisticated Wall Street banks on time, as agreed, in full, with interest,” he asked. “You can say, ‘Oh sure, under New York law there is not a requirement that you can show that there’s an actual victim.’ Well, then how do you have standing under Article III of the Constitution to bring a fraud claim if there’s not a victim?”

You can check out Megyn’s full analysis by tuning in to episode 726 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.