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.

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