NEW YORK–Today, a New York state court issued a 92-page decision finding that disgraced ex-president Donald Trump and the Trump Organization engaged in persistent fraud, fined Trump $355 million, and banned him from serving as an officer or director at the Trump Organization or any other New York company, or applying for loans from any New York bank, for three years. This marks the culmination of multi-year litigation initiated by the New York Attorney General.

In 2017, Free Speech For People was the first organization to urge the New York Attorney General to launch an investigation into whether to dissolve the Trump Organization. In our initial February 2017 letter, we detailed the company’s history of illegal, fraudulent, and abusive conduct (including, as of January 2017, the use of the company to launder unconstitutional emoluments to the president from foreign governments) that justified judicial dissolution. In subsequent letters, we highlighted additional fraudulent and illegal conduct including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and United States government sanctions on Iran; a fraudulent real estate scheme, as well as obstruction of justice and a quid pro quo campaign contribution bribery scheme to conceal and avoid prosecution for the fraud; and a criminal conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance law (for which Trump is now facing a criminal trial). We publicly urged the Attorney General to take action, both through a sustained grassroots campaign and in multiple prominent New York media outlets.  

We are pleased that the Attorney General pursued this case, and that–after a fair trial in which Trump had the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses, and cross-examine witnesses against him–the court concluded that Trump and the Trump Organization did engage in repeated and persistent fraud. The court ultimately concluded that, by removing Trump, his sons, and his loyalists from control of the companies and installing both an independent monitor and a separate independent director of compliance (at the Trump Organization’s expense), the company (which, in addition to its extensive fraud, also engages in a few legitimate lines of business) can continue to exist as a going concern, but it will be the “Trump Organization” in name only, as no Trump or Trump loyalist will have any control over its affairs. We urge the Attorney General to revisit this order at the conclusion of the three-year period and ensure that Trump and his fellow fraud defendants can never again abuse the privilege of a New York corporate charter or business license to violate federal or state law.