Trump Gets (Almost) the New York Business Death Penalty

Trump Gets (Almost) the New York Business Death Penalty

Trump Gets (Almost) the New York Business Death Penalty

The crime family is paying for its real estate sins. Eventually, we hope, Trump will pay for more than that.


On the day Alexei Navalny got the death penalty from the henchmen of Vladimir Putin, disgraced former president, New York real estate magnate, and Putin ally Donald Trump got something like a business death penalty in a New York courtroom. It wasn’t the same, of course, but the ruling against Trump was worth savoring, if you’re opposed to capitalist corruption as well as Trump’s fascist politics (and if you were appalled by Trump’s giving Putin the green light earlier this week to invade NATO countries if they weren’t paid up on their nonexistent dues).

Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a $355 million fine on Trump, just a shade less than New York Attorney General Leticia James asked for, and imposed a three-year ban on his doing business in the state. It is not a lifetime ban, as some had hoped, but since everyone’s acting like President Joe Biden, at 81, is already dead, Trump at 81 will be hobbled, if not deceased. This is horrific for him.

Trump’s two sons, Eric and Don Jr., are barred for two years. That seems inadequate to me, but it’s still a lot, since they can’t apply for loans or do other things required to do business deals in that period either. So the failsons are also done in their home state.

“Defendants’ complete lack of contrition borders on pathological,” Engoron wrote.“They will engage in [business fraud] unless constrained.”

Engoron had already ruled that James had proven her case on business fraud, so all that was left was a penalty number, and the question of whether and when Trump’s corrupt empire could continue in New York. It’s not over, but it’s over.

“It’s taken over half a century, but Donald’s ability to commit fraud with impunity has come to an end—at least in New York—and believe me, that matters to him,” niece Mary Trump declared on her Substack.

Former George W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer felt differently: “New York has become a legal banana republic.” If only, Ari, we’d round you up and put you away for your many lies.

Former Trump Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, already imprisoned for five months for his personal business fraud, is also barred from doing business in New York for three years. That doesn’t matter; he moved to Florida, not far from Mar-a-Lago. But Weisselberg’s “severance” payment of $2 million, close to his criminal fine, also helped spur the verdict.

Among the financial chicanery the court heard about was how Trump overvalued his Seven Springs property in Westchester County. Allen Weisselberg’s daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg told me, in a conversation I didn’t use when profiling her, that she knew that Trump was using his Seven Springs property for storage. “They’re using it as a storage unit! But the DA doesn’t know.” Someone close to her told her. “‘We just drove everything from [formerly Trump-controlled] Wollman Rink to Seven Springs.’ It’s just storage, nobody lives there. Allen doesn’t trust a single storage unit.”

Allen Weisselberg might still be charged with perjury for what he said in his own criminal trial. They are all in it together, and they deserve more than the penalty they got.

Remember: Trump has already had to put up money to appeal his judgments in the case of E. Jean Carroll, which are now up to $88 million. It’s still not clear how much he’ll have to post in order to appeal Engoron’s judgment, which he surely will. But more than $400 million is getting close to what Trump has already declared is his net liquidity.

Plus he’s been convicted of running a fraudulent charity and university. Now he’s been barred from running a business for at least three years. But he’s about to win the GOP presidential nomination again, and he’s beating President Joe Biden in the polls. I still believe better about the American people. I desperately hope I’m right.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It’s just one of many examples of incisive, deeply-reported journalism we publish—journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media. For nearly 160 years, The Nation has spoken truth to power and shone a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

In a critical election year as well as a time of media austerity, independent journalism needs your continued support. The best way to do this is with a recurring donation. This month, we are asking readers like you who value truth and democracy to step up and support The Nation with a monthly contribution. We call these monthly donors Sustainers, a small but mighty group of supporters who ensure our team of writers, editors, and fact-checkers have the resources they need to report on breaking news, investigative feature stories that often take weeks or months to report, and much more.

There’s a lot to talk about in the coming months, from the presidential election and Supreme Court battles to the fight for bodily autonomy. We’ll cover all these issues and more, but this is only made possible with support from sustaining donors. Donate today—any amount you can spare each month is appreciated, even just the price of a cup of coffee.

The Nation does not bow to the interests of a corporate owner or advertisers—we answer only to readers like you who make our work possible. Set up a recurring donation today and ensure we can continue to hold the powerful accountable.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy