Judge Orders Trump, Executives to Pay More Than $350 Million

The judge also barred Trump from running businesses in New York for 3 years. Trump attorney Alina Habba said they will appeal the ruling.
Judge Orders Trump, Executives to Pay More Than $350 Million
Former President Donald Trump and his lawyers Christopher Kise and Alina Habba attend the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York City on Jan. 11, 2024. (Seth Wenig-Pool/Getty Images)
Catherine Yang

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron issued a ruling on Feb. 16, ordering former President Donald Trump and Trump Organization executives to pay $355 million in damages, and barring the former president from doing business in the state for three years.

The ruling also vacated a previous order to cancel Trump Organization business certificates, which had been widely criticized as a “corporate death blow.”

“As detailed herein, this Court now finds defendants liable, continues the appointment of an Independent Monitor, orders the installation of an Independent Director of Compliance, and limits defendants’ right to conduct business in New York for a few years,” the judge wrote.

“This Court finds that defendants are likely to continue their fraudulent ways unless the Court grants significant injunctive relief.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James brought the case against President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization in September 2022, and the trial began on Oct. 2, 2023.

The judge granted most of what the attorney general had asked for in injunctive relief, but in a major departure from the recommended relief did not permanently ban President Trump from doing business in New York.

Trump Organization executives are ordered to pay $355 million with backdated interest.

Former Trump Organization executives Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney are permanently banned from doing business in New York.

“The evidence is overwhelming that Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney cannot be entrusted with controlling the finances of any business,” the judge ordered.

Mr. Weisselberg, Mr. McConney, and President Trump are banned from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or legal entity for three years. Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. cannot serve as such for two years.

President Trump and his companies cannot apply for loans from any financial institution chartered by or registered in New York for three years.

This would effectively bar President Trump from doing business in the state for three years.

Former Judge Barbara Jones will continue to monitor the Trump Organization for at least three years and will send a proposal to the court in 30 days outlining what authority she needs to effectively serve as an independent monitor.

Another independent director of compliance will be installed at the Trump Organization, paid for by the defendants, to “ensure compliance with financial reporting obligations and to establish internal written accounting and financial reporting protocols.” Ms. Jones will make a list of recommended persons for the position within 30 days.

Justice Engoron wrote in his order that the ruling is intended to “protect the integrity of the financial marketplace and, thus, the public as a whole.”

The ongoing monitorship is necessary, he added, because the defendants have testified they do not believe changes need to be made.

Ms. James issued a statement on the ruling through a series of X, formerly Twitter, posts outlining the penalties.

“Today, justice has been served,” she wrote in her last post. “This is a major win for everyone who believes that we must all play by the same rules. No matter how big, how rich, or how powerful you are, no one is above the law. Not even Donald Trump.”

President Trump also posted a lengthy social media statement, and then called a press conference in front of his Mar-a-Lago residence.

“This ‘decision’ is a Complete and Total SHAM,” he wrote. “There were No Victims, No Damages, No Complaints. Only satisfied Banks and Insurance Companies (which made a ton of money), GREAT Financial Statements, that didn’t even include the most valuable Asset - the TRUMP Brand, IRONCLAD Disclaimers (Buyer Beware, and Do you Own Due Diligence), and amazing Properties all over the World.”

No Cancellation of Business Certificates, For Now

The judge vacated his September 2023 order to cancel the Trump Organization business certificates, and decided instead that this penalty could be applied later at the recommendation of the monitor or “based on substantial evidence.”

“Going forward there will be two-tiered oversight, an Independent Monitor and an Independent Director of Compliance, of the major activities that could lead to fraud, cancellation of the business licenses is no longer necessary,” the judge ordered.

“The restructuring and potential dissolution of any LLCs shall be subject to individual review by the Court appointed Independent Director of Compliance in consultation with Judge Jones.”

Trump Will Appeal

Trump Attorney Alina Habba issued a statement shortly after the verdict, calling it “manifest injustice—plain and simple.”

“Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients,” Ms. Habba stated.

She claimed that the verdict was the “culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt,” referring to Ms. James’s campaign statements that she was going to “take down Donald Trump.

“Countless hours of testimony proved that there was no wrongdoing, no crime, and no victim,” she stated.

She claimed the ruling would impact the business community.

“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,” Ms. Habba stated.

Disgorgement Breakdown

The attorney general had asked for about $370 million with 9 percent annual interest in disgorgement or the difference in what the state argued the Trump Organization would have paid if its statements of financial condition (SFCs) from 2011 to 2021 were adjusted.

The judge granted this request. The figure breaks down to $168 million for several properties, with interest applied from March 2019; and $126 million for another smaller group of properties including the Old Post Office building in the District of Columbia, with interest applied from May 2022; the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust and other umbrella organizations are jointly liable for $60 million with interest from June 2023; Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are personally liable for $4 million each with interest from May 2022; and Mr. Weisselberg is personally liable for $1 million with interest from January 2023.