Advertisement

NY AG Says Court Should Reject Trump’s Request To Get Out Of Paying $464 Million Bond

The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James urged the New York state Supreme Court on Wednesday to reject former President Donald Trump’s “extraordinary” request to waive or reduce the $464 million bond he owes following his civil fraud conviction.

In a filing, James’ office slammed Trump’s assertion that it is “a practical impossibility” for him to obtain a $464 million bond from a lender as “procedurally improper” and reliant on sources with “personal financial interest[s] in the outcome of the case.”

The document was in reply to Trump’s request for relief from the nearly half-billion bond, and was submitted by senior assistant solicitor general Dennis Fan.

The New York high court found Trump guilty of civil fraud on Feb. 16 for falsifying the business records of the Trump Organization in order to obtain favorable loans for years, in a case brought by James’ office. Trump was ordered to pay $464 million to cover the amount he unlawfully obtained through his fraud, plus interest.

The former president has since appealed his conviction. He’s now required to post the full financial penalty, or else James’ office could begin to seize his properties to collect on the penalty.

A person seeking a bond to cover a judgment on appeal must put forward collateral in excess of the amount owed.

Trump filed a statement to the court on Monday arguing that 30 bond companies rejected his efforts to obtain a $464 million bond. He claimed that he does not have the available cash to put forward as collateral, and only one of the 30 bond companies Trump reportedly contacted was willing to accept “hard assets,” like physical real estate properties, in lieu of cash.

Attorney General Letitia James sits in the courtroom for the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump in New York State Supreme Court on January 11, 2024.
Attorney General Letitia James sits in the courtroom for the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump in New York State Supreme Court on January 11, 2024. Michael M. Santiago via Getty Images

After “countless hours negotiating with one of the largest insurance companies in the world, … obtaining an appeal bond in the full amount … is not possible under the circumstances presented,” Trump’s brief states.

That filing relied heavily on an affirmation from insurance broker Gary Giulietti. Giulietti, however, “has an ongoing personal and professional relationship with Donald Trump” that makes his affirmation “unreliable,” according to the attorney general’s reply.

Trump’s filing does not disclose that Giulietti served as “an expert witness for defendants at trial or that [New York] Supreme Court found Mr. Giulietti’s trial testimony to lack credibility,” the reply continues.

Additionally, the reply notes Giuletti has a “personal financial interest in the outcome of the case” as he earns a commission from the Trump Organization.

Trump’s filing also includes an affirmation from Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten. But Garten was previously found by the court to be “personally involved in the fraudulent and illegal conduct that gave rise to the judgment in this case.”

The attorney general’s reply also argues that Trump’s request included arguments not previously made before the court and was therefore “procedurally improper.”

“[D]efendants here had no reason to wait for their reply to raise their allegations and arguments about the difficulty of obtaining a bond, as their efforts to obtain that bond began before their stay motion was filed and indeed before judgment was even entered,” the reply states.

Finally, the attorney general disputes Trump’s claim that it is practically unheard of for a defendant to need a bond of $464 million.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press before closing arguments at his civil fraud trial at State Supreme Court.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press before closing arguments at his civil fraud trial at State Supreme Court. Lev Radin/Pacific Press via Getty Images

In fact, many judgments have imposed financial penalties in the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in the past. In each case, the companies were able to obtain bonds for their appeals. They did so by receiving multiple bonds from multiple bond companies, something Trump does not claim to have attempted in his filing.

What Trump’s allegations that he cannot obtain a bond amount to is an admission that “sureties have been unwilling to accept Mr. Trump’s real-estate holdings as collateral in this case,” the reply states (italics original). Why bond companies refused to provide Trump with a bond “in this case” is left unsaid.

That leaves open a host of questions about whether the bond issuers trusted Trump’s valuation of the hard assets he was willing to put up as collateral. But, as the reply notes, Trump has not disclosed any information about what properties he was willing to put up or what he says they’re worth.

“[D]efendants supply no documentary evidence that demonstrates precisely what real property they offered to sureties, on what terms that property was offered, or precisely why the sureties were unwilling to accept the assets,” the reply states. “As far as the Court can infer, sureties may have refused to accept defendants’ specific holdings as collateral because ... [Trump’s] holdings are not nearly as valuable as defendants claim.”

Absent an intervention by the appellate court to stay the judgment, Trump will be required to pay the full penalty on March 25, or else the attorney general’s office will be able to begin seizing assets from the Trump Organization.

Related...