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The Hill
The Hill
16 Feb 2024
Zach Schonfeld

NextImg:Judge pulls back from dissolving Trump’s businesses in fraud ruling

The staggering civil fraud ruling against President Trump did hand him one key victory Friday: The New York judge will no longer dissolve the former president’s businesses.

Judge Arthur Engoron’s highly anticipated decision, issued Friday, fined Trump more than $350 million and ordered his adult sons to pay millions as well, also banning them from running companies in New York for a few years.

But it also walked back a key ruling Engoron made in September.

Prior to the 11-week bench trial, Engoron had said New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) had already proven the core of her sprawling fraud case against the former president, ordering Trump’s New York business certificates be dissolved.

It led to a swarm of questions over whether it meant Trump would lose control of Trump Tower and his other famed properties.

But in his decision Friday, Engoron walked it back.

He ordered that his September decision be modified “solely to the extent of vacating the directive to cancel defendants’ business certificates.”

It’s a major reversal after Engoron effectively stripped Trump of his ability to continue as a real estate mogul in New York, recommending at the time that independent receivers begin managing the “dissolution of the canceled LLCs.”

On Friday, however, Engoron noted that dissolving Trump’s companies en masse “could implicate serious economic concerns.”

Despite the twist, however, Engoron’s ruling overall still delivers a striking blow to the former president’s business empire and leaves the door open that an independent monitor could still cancel some of the former president’s business certificates.

Beyond the hundreds of millions in fines, the judge’s decision bans Trump from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation for three years, and his two adult sons are banned for two years. Trump and his businesses are also prohibited for three years from applying for loans from any institution registered with the state.

Engoron further ordered the appointment of an independent director of compliance at the Trump Organization to ensure compliance with financial reporting obligations, and an independent monitor will continue to oversee Trump’s business empire.

The judge ordered the independent monitor, retired federal judge Barbara Jones, to submit within 30 days an outline of the authority she needs to “effectuate a productive and enhanced monitorship going forward.”

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET