A judge ordered the president of the United States, Donald Trump, to pay $ 2 million to a variety of charities as a fine for misuse of his own charitable foundation to promote his political and commercial interests.
New York state judge Saliann Scarpulla imposed the penalty Thursday after the president admitted a series of abuses described in a lawsuit filed against him last year by the New York attorney general's office.
Among other things, Trump acknowledged in a legal presentation that allowed his presidential campaign staff to coordinate with the Trump Foundation to organize a fundraiser for veterans during the period prior to the 2016 Iowa assemblies. The event was designed "to promote Trump's political campaign, "said Scarpulla.
"I am the only person I know, perhaps the only person in history, who can give large amounts of money to charity (19 million), does not charge expenses and can be attacked by political attacks in the state of New York," wrote.
He attacked a number of New York Democratic attorney generals who were involved in the lawsuit, saying they should have spent their time investigating the Clinton Foundation.
"It's been 4 years of harassment for political reasons," Trump said.
Trump's foundation will be dissolved and his $ 1.7 million in remaining funds will be given to other nonprofit organizations, according to agreements reached by Trump's attorneys and the attorney general's office.
As part of those agreements, made public on Thursday, the two sides left it up to the judge to decide what penalty Trump should pay.
The agreement was a radical change for Trump. He tweeted: "I will not solve this case!" When it was filed in June 2018.
Trump's fine and charity funds will be divided equally between eight organizations, including Citymeals on Wheels, United Black College Fund and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Attorney General Letitia James welcomed the resolution of the case as a "great victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold those who abuse charities for personal gain."
"No one is above the law, not a businessman, not a candidate for a position, not even the president of the United States," said James, a Democrat.
The president admitted, among other things, to arrange for the charity to pay $ 10,000 for a 6-foot portrait of him. He also agreed to return $ 11,525 in funds from the foundation he spent on sports souvenirs and champagne at a charity gala.
Trump also accepted restrictions on his participation in other charities. His three eldest children, who were members of the foundation's board of directors, must receive mandatory training on the duties of those who run charities.
Charities cannot participate in political campaigns, but in weighing Iowa's fundraiser, Scarpulla gave Trump credit for fulfilling his promise to give $ 2.8 million that his charity raised to veterans' organizations.
Instead of fineing him with that amount, as the attorney general's office wanted, the judge reduced him to $ 2 million and rejected a claim for damages and punitive interests.
The Trump Foundation said he was happy with those decisions, claiming that the judge "acknowledged that every penny raised by the Trump Foundation has gone to help those most in need."
Trump Foundation attorney Alan Futerfas said the nonprofit organization has distributed approximately $ 19 million in the last decade, including $ 8.25 million of the president's own money, to hundreds of charities.
At the time of Iowa's fundraiser, Trump was fighting with then-Fox news introduces Megyn Kelly and refuses to participate in the final Republican presidential primary debate of the network before the Iowa caucuses.
Instead, he made a rally at the same time as the debate in which he called people to donate to charities for veterans. The foundation acted as a transfer of those contributions.
James said the evidence of prohibited coordination between campaign officials and the foundation included emails exchanged with the then Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
In an email, a vice president of the Trump company asked Lewandowski for guidance on how to distribute exactly the money raised.
Trump also admitted in the agreements to order that $ 100,000 in foundation money be used to resolve legal claims on an 80-foot flagpole he had built at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, instead of Pay the expense of your own pocket.
In addition, the foundation paid $ 158,000 to settle a lawsuit for a prize for a hole-in-one contest at a Trump-owned golf course, and $ 5,000 for ads promoting Trump hotels in charity event programs. Trump admitted that these transactions were also incorrect.
As part of the agreement, Donald Trump Jr reimbursed the Trump Foundation for the cost of the portrait.