Judge Orders Trump And His Companies To Pay $355 Million In New York Civil Fraud Case

(AP) — A New York judge ordered Donald Trump and his companies on Friday to pay $355 million, finding they engaged in a yearslong scheme to dupe banks and others with financial statements that inflated his wealth.

Trump won’t have to pay out the money immediately as an appeals process plays out, but the verdict still is a stunning setback for the former president.

If he’s ultimately forced to pay, the magnitude of the penalty, on top of earlier judgments, could dramatically diminish his financial resources.

And it undermines the image of a successful businessman that he’s carefully tailored to power his unlikely rise from a reality television star to a onetime — and perhaps future — president.

Trump, who built his reputation as a real estate titan, also was barred from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation for three years or from getting a loan from banks registered in his native state.

His eldest sons, Trump Organization Executive Vice Presidents Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, each were ordered to pay $4 million and barred from being officers of New York companies for two years. Former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg was ordered to pay $1 million.

The total $364 million verdict keeps the Trump Organization in business: The judge backed away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved the former president’s companies. But if upheld, the verdict will force a shakeup at the top of the company.

Trump’s lawyers vowed to appeal. Attorney Alina Habba called the verdict “manifest injustice” and “the culmination of a multi-year, politically fuelled witch hunt.”

Trump lawyer Christopher Kise called the outcome “a draconian and unconstitutional fine and a corporate ‘death penalty’” for Trump, his family and his business.