Trump handed lifeline as appeals court slashes fraud trial bond and grants 10-day reprieve

A New York appeals court has granted Donald Trump a 10-day extension to secure a portion of the $464m bond he has been ordered to post, after the former president signalled he was struggling to come up with the money.

On Monday, the five-judge court panel said that the former president could have more than a week to secure just $175m while he awaits a ruling in his appeal of the judgement made by Justice Arthur Engoron in the civil fraud case.

The ruling is a win for Mr Trump who initially had until Monday to come up with the means to post the $464m bond to prevent New York Attorney General Letitia James from seizing his properties. Though the former president often boasts about his net worth, he seemed to be struggling to find a way to post the bond.

Justice Engoron imposed a $454m penalty on Mr Trump, his adult sons and former executives of the Trump Organization after finding them liable for conspiring to inflate his net worth to obtain favourable terms from insurers and banks on his properties.

But Justice Engoron also implemented several restrictions on the former president and his co-defendants including barring him from running a New York company and obtaining loans from New York banks among other penalties.

Mr Trump appealed the decision, a tactic he has used in nearly all of his criminal and civil trials, and asked the court to reduce the bond to $100m while the appeal is ongoing.

A flag depicting Mr Trump is placed at Trump Tower in New York City (Reuters)
A flag depicting Mr Trump is placed at Trump Tower in New York City (Reuters)

Mr Trump said the appeals court’s decision “shows how ridiculous and outrageous Engoron’s original decision was at $450m”. He lashed out at Justice Engoron and Ms James, claiming the credibility of each was “shattered”.

“We will abide by the decision of the appellate division, and post either a bond, equivalent securities, or cash,” Mr Trump wrote.

With the bond amount significantly less than it was, Mr Trump will likely be able to post it more easily. Part of the problem the former president was having was finding a bond company to accept his real estate as collateral and allow him to post the nearly half-billion-dollar bond.

Had the appeals court denied Mr Trump’s request, Ms James could have moved to seize his assets including his well-known properties.

In response to the ruling, a spokesperson for Ms James’s office said: “Donald Trump is still facing accountability for his staggering fraud. The court has already found that he engaged in years of fraud to falsely inflate his net worth and unjustly enrich himself, his family, and his organisation. The $464 million judgment – plus interest – against Donald Trump and the other defendants still stands.”