N.Y. appeals court reduces Trump’s bond in his civil fraud case to $175 million, a victory for the former president

A state appeals court ruled that Donald Trump and his co-defendants in the New York civil fraud case have 10 days to post a $175 million bond, down from the $464 million judgment that was originally due Monday.

The 11th-hour ruling from a panel of state Appellate Division judges is a major victory and relief for the former president, whose attorneys had said coming up with the larger bond was a “practical impossibility.” The ruling also means state Attorney General Letitia James’ office cannot yet begin collecting on the judgment.

Before Monday’s ruling, Trump was liable for $454 million, most of the fraud judgment, but the amount he owed had been increasing by more than $111,000 a day because of added interest.Trump claimed on social media Friday that he had nearly $500 million in cash that he had planned to use toward his 2024 presidential campaign. The former president, however, hasn’t used his own money toward his presidential campaigns since 2016.

He had also floated the idea last week of mortgaging or selling off his properties, saying he would be forced to do so at “Fire Sale prices.”His lawyers noted in court filings that bond companies typically “require collateral of approximately 120% of the amount of the judgment” — which in this case would total about $557 million.

Trump’s lawyers said in one filing a week ago that they hadn’t been able at that point to secure a bond, and believed it was “a practical impossibility.” They said that they approached 30 surety companies through four separate brokers, trying to negotiate with the world’s largest insurance companies.

The other bond companies will not “accept hard assets such as real estate as collateral,” but “will only accept cash or cash equivalents (such as marketable securities),” his lawyers said.

Trump’s lawyers had asked the state appeals court to either reduce the amount of money he had to post or stay the award without him posting any security while he appeals Engoron’s order.

The decision Monday also puts a stay on the part of the original judgment that barred Trump from serving as a public officer of a company, as well as the prohibitions placed on Weisselberg, McConney, Donald Trump Jr. And Eric Trump.

The court did not grant requests from Trump to prohibit the independent monitor or installing an independent director of compliance. The court also did not stay the provision prohibiting the defendants from borrowing from a financial institution registered or chartered in New York state.

The AG’s office brushed off Monday’s ruling in a statement, saying: “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 organization. The $464 million judgment — plus interest — against Donald Trump and the other defendants still stands.”

Trump celebrated the ruling in a post on Truth Social, attacking Engoron and reiterating that he believes he did nothing wrong. Speaking to reporters outside an unrelated hearing in his New York criminal case, he called Engoron “a disgrace to this country.”

Alina Habba, the former president’s lawyer in the civil fraud case, said in a statement, “We are extremely pleased with the ruling issued by the Appellate Division. This monumental holding reigns in Judge Engoron’s verdict, which is an affront to all Americans. This is the first important step in fighting back against Letitia James and her targeted witch hunt against my client which started before she ever stepped foot in office.”

On Friday, Trump told Fox News he’d appeal Engoron’s ruling “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.” He must first go through the state appeals court process before he can bring that challenge before the justices.

Trump has valued his brand at over $10 billion, but a 2021 financial statement put his net worth $4.5 billion. He has said that most of his assets are in real estate — not cash or stock — saying at a deposition in the fraud case last year, that he had “substantially in excess of $400 million in cash.”

Trump may have some financial relief coming in the near future.

On Friday, shareholders in Digital World Acquisition Corp. voted to approve a merger with the former president’s Trump Media & Technology Group, the private firm that owns his social media platform Truth Social.

Shares in the newly combined company, Trump Media, could begin to be publicly traded this week, and Trump would have nearly 80 million shares, estimated to be worth around $3 billion.

Under the terms of the merger, Trump is prohibited from selling shares in the merged company for at least six months, but the board of directors, which will likely include his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., could vote to allow him to sell shares earlier than that

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