Trump wins last-minute reprieve as judge cuts fraud bond to $175m

Donald Trump was handed a last-minute reprieve in court on Monday, when a New York court allowed him to post a reduced bond of $175m to delay enforcement of a $464m fraud penalty.

The former president’s lawyers had argued it would be “impossible” to secure a bond for the full amount.

The appeals court gave Mr Trump 10 days to find the $175m bond.

If he posts the bond within that time, his assets will be protected while he continues his appeal.

“I greatly respect the decision,” Mr Trump said on Monday. “We will abide by the decision… and post either a bond, equivalent securities, or cash.”

Mr Trump was found liable earlier this year for repeatedly inflating the value of his assets, in what was a landmark fraud case against a former president and the presumptive Republican nominee for November’s election.

The decision on Monday marked a victory for Mr Trump, and came as a deadline to post the full $464m bond expired.

If that deadline had passed without Mr Trump posting a bond and without any intervention from the appeals court, it would have paved the way for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the fraud case, to begin freezing his bank accounts and seizing his properties.

Ms James said on Monday that Mr Trump was “still facing accountability for his staggering fraud”.

“The $464m judgement – plus interest – against Donald Trump and the other defendants still stands,” she said in a statement.

The appeals court also agreed to delay the enforcement of other penalties that were part of the original judgement, such as barring the former president and his elder sons from running businesses in New York.

But it left in place a monitor that is overseeing Mr Trump’s businesses and can sound alarms if they find any misconduct.

Mr Trump testified last year that he had as much as $400m in cash. Forbes gave a similar estimate in September 2023 – around $423m in cash and liquid assets.

Last week his lawyers said he had been unable to cover the $464m penalty despite approaching 30 financial companies to provide a bond.

The appellate court’s decision on Monday is a victory for Mr Trump, said Will Thomas, a professor at the University of Michigan Ross Business School, who noted that the former president is being allowed to appeal without paying the cost of a full appeal bond.

Mitchell Epner, a lawyer who handles commercial litigation, said he was surprised by the court’s decision to grant Mr Trump a stay.

Just last week, Mr Trump said on social media that he had $500m in cash, an amount that would nearly cover collateral for a bond in the full amount. That comment undercut his argument he could not secure a $464m bond, Mr Epner and other experts told the BBC.

graphic showing how much Trump owes

Source: BBC

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