Donald Trump’s legal woes: Here's how much he owes in penalty and how much he will have to pay

Donald Trump’s legal woes: Here's how much he owes in penalty and how much he will have to pay
Donald Trump has been fined close to $500 million penalty for two civil fraud rulings (Getty Images)

Trump's legal woes: 7 key insights from how much does ex-prez owes in court battles to how much he will have to pay

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Donald Trump faced consecutive legal set backs in two civil fraud trials (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump's 2024 presidential bid is becoming more tumultuous, with back-to-back legal setbacks costing him hundreds of millions in penalties. Unlike his presidential race, he is failing to make any headway in the courts, the latest being the $355 million New York civil fraud verdict. Let us explore seven key insights into Trump's legal woes in light of the judgment turning into a staggering blow to his personal fortune.

1. How much money does Trump owe now?

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24:  A guard stands outside of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Aug
The New York civil fraud ruling was a blow to Donald Trump as his businesses, including the Trump Tower, are based in the Empire State (Getty Images)

Two New York courts have ordered Trump to pay $355 million and $83.3 million in two back-to-back civil trial verdicts, one for illegally inflating the price of his properties in the state and the other for defaming writer E Jean Carroll in 2019. However, the final amount Trump will have to pay in the civil fraud verdict will surpass $355 million when the interest is added along with the additional $110,000 charge for failing to comply with a subpoena in the civil fraud case and a $15,000 fine for repeatedly disparaging the judge's law clerk in violation of a gag order. In addition, Trump owes $400,000 in legal fees to The New York Times in a failed lawsuit. Furthermore, he is appealing a $938,000 judgment against him and his attorney for filing a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.

2. NY Judge orders Trump to pay $355 million in civil fraud verdict

ROCHESTER, NY - SEPTEMBER 20:  New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a news confer
 New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed the civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump (Getty Images)

NY Judge Arthur Engoron on February 17 ordered Trump to pay a whopping $355 million along with a 3-year ban from serving as an officer or director of any of the Empire State's corporations for fraudulently inflating the price of his properties for decades to secure favorable bank loans. Besides, his co-defendants and sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, should pay $4 million each for conspiring with their father. The bombshell verdict came after an 11-week-long trial in the lawsuit filed by NY Attorney General Letitia James in 2022.

3. Civil fraud penalty will reach nearly $500M until Trump pays

Justice Arthur Engoron  (Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images)
Judge Arthur Engoron ordered to calculate interest since 2019 on the profits earned by Donald Trump in the alleged fraud (Photo by Mike Segar-Pool/Getty Images)

The amount Trump owes in the NY civil fraud trial will definitely surpass the $355 million verdict when compounded by the prejudgement interest he profited from the alleged fraud. According to New York law, the interest is set at a 9% annual rate, and Judge Engoron ordered the calculation of about half of that interest starting from 2019 when the AG started the investigation. So, the former president owed $98.6 million in interest on the day of the ruling, and it will grow until he pays the penalty. Every day, the interest causes more than a $87,000 increase in the total fine.

4. Trump owes $83.3M to E Jean Carroll

E. Jean Carroll arrives at Manhattan federal court in New York as her defamation suit against Donald Trump continues on January 26, 2024 in New York City. Lawyers for both parties are expected to make their final statements today before a jury decides on a financial penalty. Carroll successfully sued Trump for defaming her when he was president, he has denied sexually assaulting her in a New York department store dressing room in the mid 1990's. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Donald Trump should pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll over defamtion damages (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In late January, a Manhattan jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million to longtime advice columnist E Jean Carroll over defamation damages. According to the jury, the White House hopeful should pay the plaintiff $11 million to repair her reputation, $7.3 million in other compensatory damages, and $65 million in punitive damages. Carroll filed the lawsuit against Trump for defaming her in 2019 by denying the allegations that he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

5. Can Trump afford to pay?

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 12:  The Trump International Hotel on its first day of business September
Donald Trump sold his Trump International Hotel in Washington DC in 2022 (Getty Images)

Though Trump's net worth remains unclear, Forbes and Bloomberg estimate it between $2.6 billion and $3.1 billion. As per Associated Press, the former president in 2021 stated he had around $300 million in "cash and cash equivalents." The sale of his New York golf course and his Washington, DC, hotel will add to his net worth. However, it remains unclear whether the Trump family will have enough cash on hand to pay for all the penalties.

6. Can Trump use campaign contributions?

Save America Leadership PAC/LinkedIn
Donald Trump's Save America Leadership PAC previously paid millions in his legal fees (Save America Leadership PAC/LinkedIn)

Federal election law prevents Trump from using his presidential campaign funds for personal use. However, his Save America PAC has already paid millions in legal fees. "The likelihood of the Federal Election Commission in its current configuration pursuing these violations is not terribly great," Daniel Weiner, director of the Brennan Center's Elections and Government Program, told the Associated Press. Nevertheless, the PAC, which reportedly has only $23 million in cash on hand, could cover only a minor portion of the massive penalties. In addition, once Trump becomes the nominee, he could jointly raise funds with the RNC, which had previously paid $2 million in his legal fees. It remains to be seen how the Committee will help Trump pay the hefty penalties as he closes in on the GOP nomination

7. Can he get any of these judgments overturned?

Former President Donald Trump exits the courtroom after testifying at his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on November 06, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Donald Trump exits the courtroom after testifying at his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in November 2023 (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Trump has already announced his decision to appeal the New York civil fraud trial and the Carroll defamation trial verdicts. Appellate courts could reduce the size of judgment, especially high-dollar amounts. The civil fraud ruling will first go to an intermediate-level court. If the ruling is still unfavorable, the former president can approach New York's top appellate court, though legal experts opine it is unlikely.

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