Trump must come up with the full bond amount to cover the $454 million civil fraud trial judgment, appeals court judge rules

Former President Donald Trump must come up with the full 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 New York regulated financial institutions, 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.

The decision followed an emergency hearing that lasted about 20 minutes.

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 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 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 in that amount 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. They argued that without a stay they would likely be forced to sell properties under “exigent circumstances.”

“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 opposed 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.

While this decision gives Trump another potential avenue to raise cash, he still needs to find a lender willing to extend to him a substantial amount of money, even if backed by one or more of his properties.

Trump could post the cash amount to cover the judgment. But if he decides to secure a loan, his lawyers told the judge, he would need to raise more than $550 million. Bond underwriters charge about 120% of the judgment and often require cash and other easy-to-sell assets like stocks or bonds as collateral.

“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.

The appellate judge didn’t change the lower court ruling that said an independent monitor, who has been in place at the Trump Organization since 2022, will continue in the position for an additional three years. But he denied Trump’s request to postpone the installation of an independent compliance director.

The New York attorney general opposed giving Trump any relief, arguing there was no basis to grant the stay because Trump can automatically stay the judgment by securing an appeal bond. Trump’s legal team also had not notified the attorney general 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 attorney general’s office said it 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 defamation 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. Trump has asked the judge overseeing the Carroll case to postpone enforcement of that judgment or allow him to post a smaller amount until all post-trial arguments are over. The judge has not yet ruled.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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