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Trump, in 5,000-page NY fraud-case filing, says he can't foot $456M appeal bond

Trump on top of money
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Chelsea Jia Feng/BI
  • Trump's latest "I can't pay" comes one week before a deadline in his New York civil fraud judgment.

  • He can't afford to buy an appeal bond, his lawyers say.

  • Footing the full amount is "a practical impossibility," they wrote Monday.

Former President Donald Trump cannot afford to post an appeal bond covering the $456 million he owes New York state from last month's civil fraud judgment, his lawyers said Monday in a court filing.

The filing said Trump had just one week to secure the $1 billion in cash reserves needed to persuade a company to write a $464 million bond to cover the judgments for the former president and his three fraud-trial codefendants.

Securing such a high bond in time to meet a March 25 deadline "is a practical impossibility," despite "Defendants' ongoing diligent efforts," they wrote the massive 4,919-page filing.

Read Trump's filing here.

The filing contained more than 3,000 pages of transcripts from the nearly 11-week civil fraud trial.

Trump is asking an appellate panel in Manhattan to postpone, or "stay," the requirement that he post a bond while he appeals.

He's planning on winning the appeal, he said, at which point he would owe the state nothing, or at least less.

Surety experts have told Business Insider that Trump would need to set aside $500 million in cash to secure the appeal bond he needs.

The filing said the actual amount he'd need to set aside would be much higher.

Trump has approached "about 30 surety companies through 4 separate brokers" in hopes of fulfilling "an impossible bond requirement," it said.

"A bond requirement of this enormous magnitude — effectively requiring cash reserves approaching $1 billion, is unprecedented for a private company," it added.

The premium alone — the generally nonrefundable price of the bond — would be $18.5 million a year for the life of the appeal, it said.

The filing did not explain why the amount of cash that Trump would need to secure a bond was anywhere near $1 billion.

"While it is my understanding that the Trump Organization is in a strong liquidity position, it does not have $1 billion in cash or cash equivalents" on hand, one of Trump's insurance brokers, Gary Giulietti, said in an affirmation that's part of the filing.

A 2023 Forbes analysis put Trump's net worth at $2.6 billion. In January, Bloomberg estimated that Trump had about $600 million in liquid assets.

Former Pres. Donald Trump speaks to the press outside of Manhattan Criminal Court Feb 15 before his hush money hearing.
Former President Donald Trump Manhattan criminal court.Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Giulietti, who heads Lockton Cos., earned $1.2 million in 2022 as Trump's broker, he said in October while testifying on Trump's behalf at the civil trial.

Rather than requiring a bond, the filing argued, the appellate panel should recognize that Trump's real-estate holdings are enough of an IOU.

"Enforcing an impossible bond requirement as a condition of appeal would inflict manifest irreparable injury on Defendants," it said.

Trump bears the brunt of the civil judgment. His two eldest sons and Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's former chief financial officer, are also defendants but were hit with far lower judgments in the seven figures.

"By contrast, waiving the bond requirement will impose no cognizable harm on the Attorney General," the filing said, referring to Letitia James of New York.

There are "no victims, no damages, and no actual financial losses" behind the attorney general's case, it said.

James and the judge who presided over the trial, Justice Arthur Engoron of New York's Supreme Court, have contended that the state's marketplace was victimized by Trump filing a decade's worth of wildly exaggerated financial statements to banks.

"Donald Trump falsely, knowingly, inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself, his family, and to cheat the system," James said in a post-verdict victory lap last month.

The attorney general's office has opposed Trump's request for a stay, arguing that he should either post an appeal bond or the full judgment by the March 25 deadline — or else face the state seizure of his assets.

Letting Trump off the hook, now, for what he owes New York would put the state's ability to ultimately collect the judgment at "significant risk," James lawyers wrote, predicting that he would attempt to evade his obligations after losing his appeal.

Trump appealed the civil fraud judgment on February 26. The lead defense attorney in the case, Christopher Kise, said after the verdict that the judge committed "innumerable and catastrophic errors" and was "untethered to the law or to reality."

As one of the first gambits in the appeal, Trump offered to post a bond for only $100 million; that offer has been preliminarily rejected by the appellate court.

Earlier this month, Trump was able to secure a $92 million appeal bond to cover the January judgment in a defamation case filed by E. Jean Carroll.

That bond was underwritten by the Federal Insurance Co., commonly known as Chubb, court documents showed.

Chubb is among the 30 or so surety companies contacted by Trump's insurance brokers, Alan Garten, a Trump Organization attorney, said in an affirmation included with Monday's filing.

"According to Defendants' brokers, the vast majority simply do not have to financial strength to handle a bond of this size," Garten said.

"Of those that do, the vast majority are unwilling to accept the risk associated with such a large bond," absent a $1 billion commitment of cash, he said.

"Of even greater import, we are advised that none of the sureties approached by Defendants' brokers are willing to accept hard assets such as real estate as collateral for appeal bonds," he said.

Chubb was the only surety company "willing to even consider accepting real estate as collateral" for the bond, he added, but "within the past week, Chubb notified Defendants that it could not accept real property as collateral."

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the date of the deadline to secure a bond. The deadline is March 25, not March 18.

Read the original article on Business Insider