A ruling by a New York judge that Donald Trump had committed fraud — leaving the fate of his business empire dangling in uncertainty — was a “devastating” blow for the former president, legal experts said Tuesday night.
If not successfully appealed, the decision will revoke the Trump Organization’s “business certificates,” preventing the 77-year-old from conducting business in the Empire State until the revocation is rescinded.
A Manhattan judge ruled that the businessman greatly exaggerated the value of his wealth to secure favorable terms with banks, which ultimately led him to worldwide fame — and into the White House.
“The decision today is a final decision that fraud is proven, The judge made this decision on the basis of Trump’s own documents. The evidence is Trump’s own documentation,” Andrew P. Napolitano, former New Jersey Superior Court judge and friend of Trump’s, told The Post.
“These are indisputable facts — the case is based entirely on the documents his lenders and his insurance companies produced.”
The 2024 presidential frontrunner will likely appeal the ruling, which could cost him upward of $250 million in penalties that James is requesting — a hefty lift for the less-than-liquid Republican.
Trump could potentially have to sell off his assets in order to pay the lofty legal fees, which could hurt his ego more than his pockets, a source familiar with the former president said.
“He is really f–ked,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.
“This really hurts. He cares about the money. This is the beginning of the end for him. These cases are going to really hurt him. He’s been so blasé about this.”
The certificate revocation would remain in place as the appeals case makes its way through the circuit, which could take months.
Little is preventing Trump from adhering to the guidance of the ruling, however — he would be hit with monetary fines for conducting business in the interim, but wouldn’t see any criminal ramifications.
“A regular person would be very concerned about what happened today and they would probably start looking at new shareholders or selling or looking into perhaps transferring certain real estate into various different entities. I don’t think he’s going to be doing any of that,” said Alex Fisher, a corporate lawyer.
“And given this person’s propensity to challenge civil rulings or civil outcomes in practicality, it might not have as big of an effect as somebody thinks it might.”
If the decision is upheld after the appeals process runs its course, Trump will lose a major ability to make money.
“It’s a devastating ruling,” said Bill Black, distinguished scholar in residence for financial regulation at the University of Minnesota Law School.
“If the decision is upheld, they have to liquidate the LLCs which actually hold the enormous bulk of the assets.”