Best of AP — Honorable Mention


Dissolving Trump’s business empire would stand apart in history of NY fraud law

Judge Arthur Engoron sits in the courtroom before the start of closing arguments in former President Donald Trump’s civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024, in New York. AP PHOTO / SETH WENIG


Bernard Condon’s exclusive, deep-dive analysis of Donald Trump’s civil fraud case in New York found that if the judge carries through with his sentence to “dissolve” the former president’s business empire, it would stand apart in nearly 70 years of the state’s powerful anti-fraud law.

Condon found just a dozen previous times when that ultimate penalty was imposed, and Trump’s case of repeated misrepresentations to lenders was the only one where a big business was threatened with liquidation without a showing of obvious victims and major losses.

With the help of news researcher Rhonda Shafner, Condon spent weeks scouring the legal databases LexisNexis and Westlaw for nearly 70 years’ worth of cases under New York’s fraud law — known as Executive Law 63(12). He looked for every time a business was found liable of fraud and ordered shut down. He also looked for cases in which a business was found liable, yet was given a lesser punishment.

Among cases of scam marketers, con artists and others, Condon cited numerous examples that showed Trump’s case still stood out in the history of the state’s fraud law for the lack of victims and major losses. This is what his analysis found — and that’s what he wrote.

Condon’s story was among the most-clicked stories of the past week, racking up more than 470,000 page views on APNews and a near-perfect 99 engagement score. News websites that ran the story prominently included The Washington Post, ABC News and The Boston Globe.

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