‘Impossible’ for Donald Trump to pay $454M bond, his lawyers say

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RELATED: There is swirling speculation in the U.S. about whether former president Donald Trump will still face trial on multiple federal criminal charges before voters head to the polls in November. – Mar 3, 2024

Donald Trump’s lawyers told a New York appellate court Monday that it’s impossible for the former president to post a bond covering the full amount of his $454-million civil fraud judgment while he appeals.

A state appeals court judge ruled last month that Trump must post a bond covering the full amount to pause enforcement of the judgment, which is to begin on March 25.

With interest, Trump owes $456.8 million. In all, he and co-defendants including his company and top executives owe $467.3 million. To obtain a bond, they would be required to post collateral worth $557 million, Trump’s lawyers said.

The former president’s lawyers wrote in a court filing that “obtaining an appeal bond in the full amount” of the judgment “is not possible under the circumstances presented.”

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled in February that Trump, his company and top executives, including his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., schemed for years to deceive banks and insurers by inflating his wealth on financial statements used to secure loans and make deals.

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Among other penalties, the judge put strict limitations on the ability of Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, to do business.

Trump is asking a full panel of the state’s intermediate appellate court to stay the judgment while he appeals. His lawyers previously proposed posting a $100-million bond, but appeals court judge Anil Singh rejected that. A stay is a legal mechanism pausing collection while he appeals.

A real estate broker enlisted by Trump to assist in obtaining a bond wrote in an affidavit filed with the court that few bonding companies will consider issuing a bond of the size required.

The remaining bonding companies will not “accept hard assets such as real estate as collateral” and “will only accept cash or cash equivalents (such as marketable securities).”

“A bond of this size is rarely, if ever, seen. In the unusual circumstance that a bond of this size is issued, it is provided to the largest public companies in the world, not to individuals or privately held businesses,” the broker, Gary Giulietti, wrote.

Trump appealed on Feb. 26, a few days after the judgment was made official. His lawyers have asked the Appellate Division of the state’s trial court to decide whether Engoron “committed errors of law and/or fact” and whether he abused his discretion or “acted in excess” of his jurisdiction.

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Trump wasn’t required to pay his penalty or post a bond in order to appeal, and filing the appeal did not automatically halt enforcement of the judgment.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, has said she will seek to seize some of Trump’s assets if he’s unable to pay the judgment.

Trump would receive an automatic stay if he were to put up money, assets or an appeal bond covering what he owes. He also had the option, which he’s now exercising, to ask the appeals court to grant a stay with a bond for a lower amount.

Trump maintains that he is worth several billion dollars and testified last year that he had about $400 million in cash, in addition to properties and other investments.

In January, a jury ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll for defaming her after she accused him in 2019 of sexually assaulting her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. Trump recently posted a bond covering that amount while he appeals.

That’s on top of the $5 million a jury awarded Carroll in a related trial last year.

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