GoFundMe launched for Donald Trump’s ‘unjust’ $350m fine in civil fraud case

A new fundraiser for former president Donald Trump was launched after he received a hefty $350m judgment in the civil fraud case against him, his sons and their family business.

Friday’s ruling by Judge Arthur Engoron found that the former president, his sons, their Trump Organization associates and Trump properties were liable for tens of millions of dollars. Mr Trump — as well as his companies and his trust — were ordered to pay more than $350m — plus interest — while his sons were each ordered to pay roughly $4m.

Elena Cardone, the wife of wealthy private equity fund manager and real estate investor Grant Cardone, created the GoFundMe page shortly after Friday’s ruling, titled: “Stand with Trump; Fund the $355M Unjust Judgment.”

Ms Cardone wrote, “I stand unwaveringly with President Donald Trump in the face of what I see as unprecedented and unfair treatment by certain judicial elements in New York.”

“The recent legal battles he faces are not just an attack on him, but an attack on the very ideals of fairness and due process that every American deserves,” she wrote. “It’s a moment that calls into question the balance of justice and the application of law, disproportionately aimed at silencing a voice that has been at the forefront of advocating for American strength, prosperity, and security.”

Ms Cardone — who earlier this month reportedly hosted a campaign fundraiser for election denier and failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake — described the Trump fundraiser as “more than a legal fund,” but rather a “call to all businesses owners and entrepreneurs to rally in defense of all businesses and for man who has never hesitated to stand in defense of us.”

A spokesoperson for GoFundMe confirmed to The Independent that the campaign fell within the company’s terms of service.

On X, Mr Cardone promoted the Trump fundraiser and explained that “100% of funds will be forwarded to Trump Org for his defense of this ridiculous judgement.”

As of Saturday afternoon, the GoFundMe page raised more than $67,000. There are some donors, however, who seem to be giving minuscule amounts to make a statement.

For example, one person who gave $5, wrote, “I paid $5 for the privilege of saying that Donald Trump is a conman, a serial sexual abuser and an insurrectionist scumbag. All of you who seriously contribute money to this man are brainwashed cult members. Trump is a danger to democracy and this country.”

This also isn’t the first time that legal funds have been set up on behalf of the former president. Mr Trump’s Save America PAC has paid nearly $37m to more than 60 law firms and individual attorneys since January 2022. While some of the PAC’s cash went to attorneys representing Mr Trump’s family and ex-White House aides, most of it went to attorneys defending Mr Trump against his array of legal battles.

This PAC in combination with the Make America Great Again PAC spent more than $55m on legal bills in 2023, according to government filings reviewed by The Independent.

Mr Trump has repeatedly used his series of legal woes to encourage donations — and it works. His base seems to be energised to defend him with every lawsuit that comes his way.

Mr Trump’s single largest online campaign fundraising day last year occurred on 4 April — when he was arraigned in Manhattan over the 34 felony charges related to the hush-money scheme, NBC News reported.

In an example of what this strategy looks like, in December, following the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to remove the former president from the 2024 ballot, his campaign sent out an email blast: “Please make a contribution to join the fight to keep my name on the 2024 ballot and peacefully defend YOUR right to vote.

On Saturday, he wrote a message to his supporters on his campaign website, branding the ruling as an example of “election interference.” The website pleads, “Before the end of the day, I’m calling on ONE MILLION PRO-TRUMP Patriots to chip in and proudly say: END THE WITCH HUNT AGAINST PRESIDENT TRUMP!”

Mr Trump’s legal debts have been stacking up as of late — and his year in court is just beginning.

On top of the civil fraud ruling — which Mr Trump decried as a “Total SHAM” on Truth Social — he already owed another $110,000 for refusing to comply with a subpoena in the case and $15,000 for disparaging the judge’s law clerk, violating a gag order.

Mr Trump was already on the line for E Jean Carroll cases; he faced an $83m verdict for his defamation of the former Elle columnist and owed $5.5m for lying about sexually abusing her.