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New York Times
17 Feb 2024
Alex Lemonides

NextImg:A $450 Million Blow to Trump’s Finances, and His Identity

“We have a lot of cash,” Donald J. Trump boasted 10 months ago, under oath, claiming that the number was “going up very substantially every month.”

But whatever cash he had may soon be gone.

On Friday, the judge overseeing Mr. Trump’s civil fraud case issued a final ruling that inflicted a staggering financial penalty. With interest, the former president has been ordered to pay about $450 million, a sum that threatens to wipe out a stockpile of cash, stocks and bonds that he amassed since leaving the White House. He will have only 30 days or so to either come up with the money or persuade an outside company to post a bond.

The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, also imposed several new restrictions on Mr. Trump and his family business. For three years, Mr. Trump cannot run any New York company, including portions of his own, nor can he obtain a loan from a New York bank. The same restrictions apply to his adult sons for a two-year period. And the family business will be under the thumb of a watchful outsider, a court-appointed monitor who can hamstring the company if she does not like what she sees.

All told, the judge’s decision poses unprecedented threats to Mr. Trump’s finances, his family business and his ego at a critical time for the former president. Although Mr. Trump will not go bankrupt and the Trump Organization will not go out of business, the company’s loudest hype man could for now become a silent partner in his hometown properties. The organization will be another real estate company in a city full of them — this one facing unusual new constraints that could impede its ability to compete.

“Justice Engoron’s order could impose several years of paralysis at the Trump Organization,” said Jim Wheaton, a professor at William & Mary Law School who focuses on legal issues involving corporate entities and has studied Mr. Trump’s finances. The ruling, he added, could even “freeze the ability to make legitimate business decisions.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Christopher M. Kise, called the financial penalty “draconian and unconstitutional,” and said that the decision “will cause irreparable damage to both the business community and the rule of law in our country.”

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