NY judge fines Trump $2 million over foundation ‘misuse’

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A judge on Thursday ordered President Trump to pay $2 million to a number of nonprofit organizations to settle a lawsuit brought by the ny state attorney general that claims he misused his now-shuttered foundation to further his political interests.

The settlement brings an end to the lawsuit the NY attorney general's office filed against the Trump Foundation, claiming the president and his children repeatedly used the charity's funds to break campaign finance laws, abused its tax-exempt status, and engaged in a pattern of "illegal conduct".

Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump - who were also directors of the Trump Foundation - are required to undergo mandatory training "on the duties of officers and directors of charities", New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference in New York City on June 11, 2019.

The foundation's current assets, $1.78 million, and the $2 million in damages will be distributed to various nonprofit groups, including the Children's Aid Society, the United Negro College Fund and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Underwood filed suit after a 21-month probe that she said had uncovered "extensive unlawful political coordination" between the foundation and the campaign.

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Three state department officials will testify first in the televised hearings which have previously been held behind closed doors. Amid the blows raining down on the administration, there have been comments that give the president a degree of cover.

But the lawyers on both sides, however, came to a "consensual resolution of the bulk of this proceeding" in October, the judge said in her decision, and agreed that the judge would determine the amount of damages Trump would be required to pay.

Charities are barred from getting involved in political campaigns, but in weighing the Iowa fundraiser, Scarpulla gave Trump credit for making good on his pledge to give $2.8 million of the money raised to veterans' organizations.

Among other things, the judge ruled that Trump improperly allowed his presidential campaign staff to work with the foundation in holding a fundraiser for veterans' charities in the run-up to the 2016 Iowa caucuses.

James said Trump admitted to "personally misusing funds at the Trump Foundation", which agreed last December to dissolve, and accepted limits on his activities if he created a new charity.

In a statement, a Trump Foundation spokesperson said the foundation was "pleased to donate an additional $2 million" to those organizations.

This case was prompted by David Fahrenthold's reporting in The Washington Post about the foundation, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017.

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