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Trump unable to post $464mn bond in New York civil case: lawyers

By AFP

March 19, 2024 09:23 AM


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Donald Trump faced having assets seized in a humiliating blow to his carefully cultivated image as a self-made tycoon as his lawyers acknowledged Monday he doesn't have the cash to appeal a $464 million fine for fraudulently inflating his wealth.

Trump -- the Republican candidate for November's US presidential election -- intends to challenge the judgment imposed by a New York civil court in February, which would force an automatic stay of enforcement.

But first he must put the money into an account managed by the appeals court or post a bond in the full amount, and 30 insurance underwriters have rejected his pleas for assistance, his lawyers said in a new filing.

"We will fight and defeat this Hoax," Trump said in a vituperative statement Monday night, blasting the case as a "witch hunt" against him.

His cash crunch raises the possibility that the state of New York could begin seizing the former president's property as soon as next Monday unless the court -- known as the First Department of the Appellate Division -- agrees to a delay.

"Defendants have faced what have proven to be insurmountable difficulties in obtaining an appeal bond for the full $464 million," Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten said in a filing to the court.

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump and his company had unlawfully inflated his wealth and manipulated the value of properties to obtain favorable bank loans or insurance terms.

Last month the judge ordered Trump to pay $355 million plus interest while his sons Eric and Don Jr. were told to hand over more than $4 million each.

Trump managed to put together a separate bond earlier this month for $91.6 million as he appeals a sexual assault and defamation judgment in a lawsuit brought by New York writer E. Jean Carroll.

But his lawyers said the leading bond providers all had internal policies preventing them from accepting real estate as collateral in the fraud case, and many would not exceed limits of $100 million.

That leaves Trump with the only option of posting 120 percent of the bond in cash and cash equivalents totaling $557.5 million, including fees and interest.

 

- 'Tons of CASH'? -

 

As his lawyers laid out the problems with securing the bond, a defiant Trump raged in his statement against 2024 election rival President Joe Biden and those prosecuting the case, and even boasted of his entrepreneurial prowess.

"I built a Magnificent Business, which helped rebuild New York City and State, with Amazing, Unparalleled, Historic Properties and tons of CASH, which Crooked Joe Biden and his Maniac Persecutors are trying to wrongfully and illegally take from me," he said.

The court-set bond, Trump fumed, "is unconstitutional, un-American, unprecedented, and practically impossible for ANY Company, including one as successful as mine."

Trump testified in an April 2023 deposition in the same case that he had "substantially in excess of 400 million in cash" -- but he had already developed a reputation by then for exaggerating his wealth.

He has asked the appeals court to delay the deadline for posting the bond until his appeal has been heard, arguing his property empire is worth far more than the amount he owes.

He also asked to be allowed to secure a bond in a lesser amount but New York Attorney General Letitia James has objected, arguing that he would "attempt to evade enforcement of the judgment or to make enforcement more difficult."

Even with a bond, Trump would continue to incur massive interest payments during what could be a years-long appeal, unless he deposits the full fine into a court-managed account.


AFP


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