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New York judge orders Trump to pay nearly $355 million for business fraud


New York judge says that former President Trump needs to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to secure better business, insurance and banking deals. The lawsuit by state Attorney General James says that Trump and his organization's fraud took place from 2011 to 2021. Here's the attorney general after the judge's decision.


LETITIA JAMES: We are holding Donald Trump accountable. We are holding him accountable for lying, cheating and a lack of contrition and for flouting the rules that all of us must play by.

SIMON: NPR politics reporter Ximena Bustillo has been following the case and joins us. Ximena, thanks so much for being with us.


SIMON: Break down the bill for us here. What did the judge ultimately decide?

BUSTILLO: New York Judge Arthur Engoron ordered former President Donald Trump and executives at The Trump Organization to pay over $364 million, handing a win to New York Attorney General Letitia James, who sued Trump and his associates after a three-year investigation. The breakdown here shows that Trump and his companies owed the bulk of that money, 355 million, to be exact. Trump's oldest two sons, Eric and Donald Jr., are each liable for $4 million each. And Allen Weisselberg, who is a former Trump Organization executive, is liable for $1 million. The one thing that is important to note is that this doesn't count interest, which the Attorney General's office estimates brings the total to more than $450 million and counting.

SIMON: And it's not just money, right?

BUSTILLO: Right. So the judge also put a temporary limit on Trump and his co-defendants' ability to do business in the Empire State. Trump is prohibited from serving as an officer or director of any New York business or applying for loans for three years. His sons are limited from similar leadership roles for two years. Weisselberg and a former controller of The Trump Organization, who is also a defendant, are permanently barred from serving in the financial control of any New York corporation or similar business entity in New York state. The Trump Organization will have to have a new independent director of compliance to establish new protocols and make sure that it's meeting financial obligations. Trump, as expected, did not approve of the decision. He continued to falsely call it election interference, referring to the 2024 election. And his lawyers have vowed to appeal.

SIMON: This was a busy week for legal challenges overall. Where does Friday's decision fit in at that bigger picture for Mr. Trump?

BUSTILLO: This one stands out in that it was a civil trial related to his businesses. It wasn't criminal, and it doesn't relate to an election like - there are three others that do. But the ruling does come at a crucial time for Trump, who is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination for this 2024 contest. This week, we also got a date for what is likely to be Trump's first criminal trial, also in New York, and it relates to hush money payments issued during the 2016 election. That trial is set to start here next month. Trump is facing a combined 91 state and federal charges, including two related to his effort to stay in office after he lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden. But the charges haven't done much to dent Trump's popularity, really, among his base. Instead, the charges appear to have bolstered his credentials and likely setting up a rematch with Biden.

SIMON: NPR's Ximena Bustillo, thanks so much for being with us.

BUSTILLO: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF J^P^N'S "STATURE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.