Trump ordered to pay $US454m in New York fraud case

Jonathan StempelReuters
Former US president Donald Trump says the fraud case against him is part of a "witch hunt". (EPA PHOTO)
Camera IconFormer US president Donald Trump says the fraud case against him is part of a "witch hunt". (EPA PHOTO) Credit: EPA

Donald Trump has been formally ordered by a New York judge to pay more than $US454 million ($A692 million) after being found liable for manipulating his net worth, in a civil fraud case brought by New York state’s attorney-general.

The payment includes the $US354.9 million ($A541.2 million) penalty that Justice Arthur Engoron of the state court in Manhattan ordered on February 16, plus interest, following a non-jury trial that stretched over three months.

Engoron also ordered Trump’s adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, to each pay nearly $US4.7 million ($A7.2 million), and the Trump Organisation’s former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, to pay $US1.1 million ($A1.7 million), all including interest.

The payouts were determined on Thursday, and interest will continue to accrue. The judgment was made public on Friday.

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Attorney-General Letitia James accused the defendants of illegally overstating the value of Trump’s properties in order to inflate his net worth and obtain better loan and insurance terms.

Engoron also banned Trump for three years from serving in a top role at any New York company, or seeking loans from banks registered in the state. His adult sons received two-year bans from leadership roles.

The judge said the defendants’ “complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological”.

Engoron’s decision threatens the business empire that Trump built over much of his adult life.

The Republican former president also faces four unrelated criminal prosecutions, in which he has pleaded not guilty, as he seeks to regain the White House from Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump has accused James and Engoron, both Democrats, of being corrupt, and called the case part of a witch hunt by political opponents.

He plans to appeal his penalty to the Appellate Division, a mid-level appeals court, but would have to come up with the money owed or obtain a bond.

Engoron rejected a request by Clifford Robert, a lawyer for the defendants, to delay enforcing the judgments for 30 days in order to allow “an orderly post-judgment process, particularly given the magnitude of judgment.”

In a Thursday morning email to Robert, Engoron wrote: “You have failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay. I am confident that the Appellate Division will protect your appellate rights.”

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