Despite appearing to admit wrongdoing in court documents, Trump has complained about being prosecuted by “hacks” in “New York State.”
A New York state judge has ordered President Donald Trump to pay $2 million in damages to various non-profit groups.
According to The New York Times, the Thursday ruling charges the Donald J. Trump Foundation with misuse of funds. The presiding judge decided to fine the president after he admitted to diverting some of the Foundation’s finances towards his election campaign and business debts.
The Trump Foundation allegedly also spent thousands of dollars commission an oil portrait of its eponymous founder.
The Times says that the damage award brings an end to the suit, which was filed by New York’s attorney general in 2016. It quickly turned into a flash-point for President Trump, who spent years denying any wrongdoing. However, Thursday’s settlement includes a rare admission of misconduct from the commander-in-chief, who’s usually unabashed in pushing back against similar allegations.
STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP pic.twitter.com/EktztHfLk6
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2019
President Trump, among other things, admitted to giving his election campaign complete control over the disbursal of $2.8 million in Foundation funds. That money, says The New York Times, had been pledged to Iowa veterans at a 2016 fundraiser.
However, Trump said that that fundraiser—which took place a day before the Iowa Republican caucuses—was actually a campaign event.
Trump also said he’d used the foundation to settle some of his outstanding legal obligations. He diverted money to his Mar-a-Lago Florida resort, as well as Trump National Golf Club in New York.
Somewhat amusingly, Trump admitted that his charity had, in fact, spent $10,000 commissioning a portrait of the president.
Despite his numerous admissions of wrongdoing, Trump posted an angry Twitter condemnation of “the political hacks in New York State.” He maintained that his charity had given “100 percent of the funds to great charities,” and that he was forced to endure “4 years of politically motivated harassment” by the attorney general’s office.
“All they found was incredibly effective philanthropy and some small technical violations,” Trump added.
The Times notes that the final details of the settlement were worked between current New York State Attorney General Letitia James and Trump lawyers early last month. Under its terms, the Trump Foundation will forfeit its remaining assets to a group of charities that bear no connection to the president or any of his family members. They include the Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals on Wheels, the United Negro College Fund, and several others.
Together, the groups will appropriate $1.8 million in Foundation assets. They’ll also receive $2 million damages awarded by Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla.
A.G. James said the outcome serves as a warning to “those who would abuse charities for personal gain.” James accused the president of using the foundation as “a piggy bank” to “promote his political interests.”
“No one is above the law,” James added, “not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the president of the United States.”