NY Judge Hits Trump With $364 Million Penalty For Alleged Fraud

New York Judge Arthur Engoron has ordered former President Donald Trump to pay $364 million for allegedly defrauding banks in order to acquire loans and other benefits - loans which the banks themselves testified they were satisfied with after doing their own due diligence.

Trump is also barred "from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years," while his sons have been barred from serving as New York executives for two years.

New York Attorney General Letitia James had sought $370 million from Trump, his company, and its top executives for what she claimed was "repeated and persistent fraud" - which included allegations of falsifying records and financial statements to the tune of as much as $2.2 billion.

Trump maintains that his financial statements to banks were conservative, and has called the case a "fraud on me."

"This is a case that should have never been brought, and I think we should be entitled to damages," Trump said on Jan. 11.

The months-long civil trial included testimony from Trump and his oldest children. The former president was combative in his day on the stand, blasting James as a "hack" and calling the judge "extremely hostile."

Trump repeatedly complained about Engoron before and throughout the trial, and the judge slapped him with a partial gag order after he started blasting the judge's law clerk as well. Trump's complaints led to a flood of death threats against the clerk, as well as Engoron, court officials said, and Trump was fined $15,000 for twice violating the order. -NBC News

During the trial, Deutsche Bank executive David Williams, who directly worked on at least one of several loans obtained by Trump over several decades, testified that it's "atypical, but not entirely unusual" for a bank to internally slash a client's stated asset values by 50% and approve a loan anyway, as they did with Trump, Bloomberg reported in November.

"It just depends on the circumstances," said Williams, a managing director at the bank.

Deutsche Bank, which loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump for properties in Miami, Chicago and Washington, cut his stated net worth in 2011 and 2012 from about $4.2 billion to $2.3 billion, according to internal bank credit memos. The same documents indicated the bank approved the loans anyway because it expected them to generate a profit based on Trump’s history of successful developments and other criteria.

Trump, who denies wrongdoing and claims the case is politically motivated, is calling to the stand this week four current and former Deutsche Bank employees — including the family’s former private banker Rosemary Vrablic — as part of his defense case, seeking to flip the script on the state’s version of events. -Bloomberg

The testimony undermined AG James' premise, that Trump defrauded the German bank. But of course, none of that matters to Engoron - while Trump's Martyr status just intensified.

Expect this decision to be reflected in upcoming polls.

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