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Donald Trump Faces $453.5 Million Penalty in New York Real Estate Fraud Lawsuit

CEO Khai Intela
Former US president Donald Trump has been dealt yet another legal blow, as a New York judge ordered him and his namesake company to pay $453.5 million in damages and interest due to their involvement...

Donald Trump hit with $453.5 million penalty in New York real estate fraud lawsuit

Former US president Donald Trump has been dealt yet another legal blow, as a New York judge ordered him and his namesake company to pay $453.5 million in damages and interest due to their involvement in a real estate fraud case. This comes on top of an $83.3 million judgment in a civil defamation case, bringing the total amount of court damages Trump has faced in the past three weeks to a staggering $536.8 million.

The judge, Justice Arthur Engoron, described the fraudulent activities as "manifest injustice" and accused Trump and his associates of submitting false financial data to accountants in order to secure loans at lower interest rates. Engoron's ruling also imposed penalties on Trump's sons and barred them from conducting business in the state. In addition, the judge highlighted the lack of contrition and remorse displayed by Trump and his co-defendants, stating that their behavior borders on the pathological.

Trump's attorney, Alina Habba, expressed her discontent with the verdict, labeling it a "manifest injustice." She further argued that this ruling, if allowed to stand, would send a message that New York is no longer open for business. Trump himself vowed to appeal the decision, confident in his eventual success.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom during his civil fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on January 11, 2024 in New York City

This latest blow is a significant financial setback for Trump, considering the substantial amount he was ordered to pay. Analysts predict that this verdict will heavily impact his financial health, especially when factoring in the mounting legal fees from his multiple ongoing criminal cases. Trump is facing charges ranging from federal election interference to falsifying business records.

The trial itself was contentious, featuring outbursts from Trump, fines for violating gag orders, and allegations of perjury. Although Trump repeatedly complained about the judge not listening to him, Engoron dismissed his credibility, citing his evasive responses and irrelevant speeches during testimony.

This ruling represents a substantial victory for New York State Attorney General Letitia James and a blow to Trump's reputation as a successful businessman. The judge's scathing remarks and the substantial penalties reflect the severity of the fraud committed by Trump and his associates. Engoron emphasized the significant discrepancies between the valuations of Trump's properties, describing them as a "fantasy world" that can only be considered fraudulent.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, in Palm Beach, Fla.

The judge particularly singled out Trump's sons, Eric and Donald Jr., during the trial. Engoron noted that Eric Trump's credibility was severely damaged when he repeatedly denied knowledge of his father's financial statements until the case came to light. Donald Jr. also faced scrutiny for his vague recollections and inability to recall important details related to company management.

Throughout this trial, Trump's actions and the findings of the court have demonstrated that no one is above the law, regardless of their wealth or status. Letitia James aptly summarized the situation, stating that Trump may have authored "The Art of the Deal," but he perfected the art of the steal.

Attorney Alina Habba, lawyer for former US President Donald Trump, speaks to members of the media outside the New York State Supreme Court during Trump

As Trump and his legal team prepare to appeal the decision, the consequences of his fraudulent actions loom over his future ambitions. The road ahead will be fraught with legal battles and mounting financial burdens, adding significant obstacles to his potential return to the White House. The outcome of the appeal will undoubtedly shape the course of Trump's political and financial future.