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17 Feb, 2024 22:32

Trump supporters launch fundraiser to pay his fraud damages

An online campaign wants to cover a $354 million court judgment against the former US president
Trump supporters launch fundraiser to pay his fraud damages

Fans of Donald Trump have started a crowdfunding campaign seeking donations to cover the $354 million that a New York judge ordered the former US president to pay for fraudulent business practices.

A GoFundMe page was set up for Trump on Friday, shortly after Judge Arthur Engoron slapped him with massive monetary damages and a three-year ban on operating his businesses in New York. In its first 24 hours, the campaign raised about $100,000, a small fraction of the fraud judgment against Trump, his companies, and his adult sons.

“Let’s stand with Trump to ensure that justice prevails and that we continue to fight for a country that respects freedom, honors courage, and rewards the unwavering spirit of its people,” said Elena Cardone, the Florida businesswoman who launched the GoFundMe campaign. Thousands of Trump supporters contributed to the fundraiser, in amounts ranging from $5 to $2,500.

Critics of Trump mocked his supporters for trying to pay the legal bill of a billionaire who was found to have submitted fraudulent financial statements. Some noted that the fundraiser is in breach of GoFundMe rules, which specifically prohibit campaigns for “the legal defense of alleged financial and violent crimes.”

Justice Engoron rebuked Trump and his co-defendants for a “pathological” lack of remorse and said he ordered the appointment of an independent director because he didn’t trust the Trump Organization to comply with his judgment. The judge found that Trump submitted false business reports, overstating the value of his assets to obtain favorable terms on bank loans and insurance policies. Trump disputed the court’s valuations of his properties and argued that there were no victims because all of his loans were paid back in full and on time.

Trump’s lawyers have vowed to appeal Friday’s ruling, as well as an $83 million New York City jury verdict against him last month for defaming a woman who had accused him of sexual assault. Trump, who also faces four separate criminal indictments, has claimed that President Joe Biden’s allies are using legal attacks to block him from winning back the presidency later this year.