Judge: Trump must come up with full bond amount to cover $454 million civil fraud trial verdict

Feb 28, 2024, 3:22 PM

Donald Trump civil trial...

Donald Trump has less than 30 days to post the money. The former president is seen here attending the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial in New York. (Shannon Stapleton/Pool/Reuters via CNN Newsource)

(Shannon Stapleton/Pool/Reuters via CNN Newsource)

(NEW YORK CNN)Former President Donald Trump must come up with the full bond amount to cover the $454 million verdict in the civil fraud trial, an appeals court judge ruled Wednesday.

Associate Justice Anil Singh, however, lifted a ban on Trump’s ability to obtain loans from a New York bank, which could allow him to access the equity in his assets to back the full bond amount.

Singh denied Trump’s request to delay his obligation to post $454 million until a full appellate panel hears his motion to stay enforcement of that judgment until his appeals of the civil fraud ruling are over.

Once the parties file briefs by March 18, the panel will evaluate Trump’s motion and will likely return a decision on the docket by the end of March, according to the clerk’s office. No additional oral arguments are scheduled before the judges render a decision.

The ruling also means that Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump can continue to run the family company, but they will each have to post more than $4 million or secure a bond to pursue their own appeals.

Trump’s attorneys had offered to post a $100 million bond, about one-fourth owed, to go toward the judgment, saying they can’t access the capital market to raise money because of the ban on obtaining loans.

“The judgment order unprecedented and punitive disgorgement of nearly $460 million and overbroad permanent injunctive relief against Appellants in the absence of legal authority or factual support,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in a filing earlier Wednesday.

The New York attorney general’s office opposes the offer, saying they want the full amount posted. They said in court papers Trump is not barred from obtaining a bond from an insurer. But one of Trump’s lawyers said bonds require cash and that’s the issue.

The 30-day clock for Trump to come up with the judgment began on February 23 so he will need to post the bond right around March 25, when jury selection begins for his criminal trial on charges relating to a scheme to cover up a hush money payment made before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“The urgency of this application is evident in light of the punitive and exorbitant disgorgement awarded against Appellants, the impact of the injunctive relief upon lawful businesses, the uncertainty created by the vague and overbroad directives Supreme Court issued, and the Attorney General’s public threats that she will seize Appellants’ real property forth with to satisfy the Judgment,” Trump’s lawyers said in the filing.

In addition to the money, Judge Arthur Engoron also banned Trump from serving as an officer of a New York business for three years and imposed a two-year ban against Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, casting doubt over who would run the Trump Organization. The company currently does not have a chief financial officer or controller.

The judge also ordered that an independent monitor, who has been in place at the Trump Organization since 2022, continue in the position for an additional three years. He also said the real estate company needed to install an independent compliance director.

In a letter, the New York attorney general argued that there is no basis to grant the stay because Trump can automatically stay the judgment by securing an appeal bond.  Trump’s legal team also has not notified the AG or the court of any effort to obtain a bond, according to the attorney general.

If Trump doesn’t post a bond or pay the judgment, the letter says, the AG will be “forced to expend substantial resources to execute the judgment on defendants’ real property and other assets.”

Noting Trump’s outstanding $83.3 million judgment in his separate case with writer E Jean Carroll in federal court, lawyers for the state say they’re concerned about collecting the nearly $460 million judgment in this case.

They also say Trump hasn’t proved he has the liquid funding to cover the judgment.

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Judge: Trump must come up with full bond amount to cover $454 million civil fraud trial verdict