NY state asks court not to let Trump forgo $454M bond during fraud case appeal

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NEW YORK (AP) — New York state lawyers urged an appellate court Wednesday not to buy former President Donald Trump's claims that it's impossible to post a bond fully covering a $454 million civil fraud judgment while he appeals.

The presumptive Republican nominee's lawyers said earlier this week that he couldn't find an underwriter willing to take on the entire amount. But the state is arguing that Trump and his co-defendants didn't explore every option.

The “defendants fail to propose a serious alternative to fully secure the judgment," Dennis Fan, a lawyer in the state attorney general's office, wrote in papers sent to the appeals court.

He suggested those alternatives could include dividing the total among multiple bonds from different underwriters — or letting a court hold some of Trump's real estate while he appeals. The ex-president is challenging a judge's ruling last month that he, his company and key executives inflated his wealth on financial statements that were used to get loans and insurance.

One of Trump's attorneys, Christopher Kise, said in a statement that the papers showed Attorney General Letitia James' “continued willingness to misrepresent the facts and misconstrue applicable law in her political crusade" against Trump. James is a Democrat, and Trump has repeatedly cast her as a partisan official trying to dent his campaign.

In a radio interview early Wednesday, Trump reiterated his complaints about the case, the judgment and the bond requirement.

“They don’t even give you a chance to appeal. They want you to put up money before the appeal. So if you sell a property or do something, and then you win the appeal, you don’t have the property,” Trump said on WABC's “Sid & Friends In The Morning.”

Under the judgment, Trump needs to pay more than $454 million in penalties and ever-growing interest; some of his co-defendants owe additional money. So far, courts have said that if the former president wants to delay collection while he appeals, he’ll have to post a bond for his entire liability.

Trump said last year that he has “fairly substantially over $400 million in cash.” But he's now facing more than $543 million in personal legal liabilities from judgments in the civil fraud case, brought by James, and in two lawsuits brought by writer E. Jean Carroll. The advice columnist said Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, then defamed her after she came forward in 2019.

He denies all the allegations.

Trump recently posted a $91.6 million appeal bond to cover the judgment, plus interest, in one of Carroll's suits. In the other, he put over $5 million in escrow while he appeals.

But in a court filing Monday, Trump’s lawyers asked the state’s intermediate appeals court to excuse him from having to post a bond for the $454 million judgmen t in the business fraud case.

The attorneys wrote that “it is not possible under the circumstances presented.” They said underwriters insisted on cash or other liquid assets instead of real estate as collateral, which would have to cover 120% of the judgment, or more than $557 million.

Insurance broker Gary Giulietti — a Trump golf buddy who handles some of his company's insurance needs and testified for him in the fraud trial — wrote in a sworn statement that “a bond of this size is rarely, if ever, seen.” The few provided go to huge public companies, Giulietti said. Trump's company is private.

But Fan, the lawyer in the attorney general's office, wrote Wednesday that “there is nothing unusual about even billion-dollar judgments being fully bonded on appeal,” citing a handful of cases. They largely involved publicly traded companies.

Fan asked the appeals court to turn down Trump's request to hold off collection, without a bond, while he appeals.

If the appeals court doesn't intervene, James can start taking steps March 25 toward enforcing the judgment. The attorney general has said she will seek to seize some of Trump’s assets if he can’t pay.


Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak and Jill Colvin contributed.