A New York State judge ruled that President Donald Trump must pay $2 million to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General's Office for misusing funds from the now-defunct Trump Foundation. New York officials accused Trump and his children of using the charitable organization as "little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests."
State Supreme Court Judge Saliann Scarpulla ruled that Trump “breached his fiduciary duty” by allowing his foundation to host a “Trump for Vets” charity event in Iowa before the state’s crucial caucuses in 2016. The event raised $5.6 million for veterans, but only $2.8 million was donated to charity. The rest remained with the Trump Foundation, which used the money to help bolster Trump's presidential campaign.
"The court's decision, together with the settlements we negotiated, are a major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain," Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. "My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States."
The Trump Foundations was disbanded last year, and the money will be distributed to a pre-approved group of non-profit organizations.
"We are pleased that the Court, in rejecting the Attorney General's frivolous request for statutory penalties, interest and other damages, recognized that every penny ever raised by the Trump Foundation has gone to help those most in need," said attorneys for the foundation, Alan Futerfas and Marc Mukasey. "Now that this matter is concluded, the Trump Foundation is proud to make this additional contribution."
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