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

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

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW YORK — A judge in New York has granted Donald Trump's request to pause his $464m (£365m) fraud judgement, giving him 10 days to put up a reduced sum of $175m.

The former president's legal team had previously said he was unable to secure a bond from a private company for the full amount.

He had faced a deadline of Monday to post the $464m bond.

If he had failed to do, the authorities in New York could have started to seize his bank accounts and properties.

But on Monday, he was granted a last-minute reprieve by an appeals court. "I greatly respect the decision," he said. "We will abide by the decision... and post either a bond, equivalent securities, or cash."

At a news conference, Trump suggested he would post the new sum in cash. "I don't need to borrow money —I have a lot of money," he said. "I have much more than that in cash."

If he pays the reduced $175m bond, it would protect his assets while he continues his appeal.

The 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 the court left in place a monitor that is overseeing Trump's businesses and can sound alarms if they find any misconduct.

Trump was found liable earlier this year for repeatedly inflating the value of his assets.

To secure a bond, an individual has to demonstrate to the company providing the guarantee that they have enough liquidity, usually in the form of cash or stocks.

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.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, meanwhile, said on Monday that 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 appellate court's decision on Monday is a victory for 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 Trump a stay.

Just last week, 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, Epner and other experts said.

Trump's hush-money

trial to begin April 15

Meanwhile, Trump will face the first ever criminal trial of a former US president on April 15, a judge has ruled, over hush money payments he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Trump faces four criminal cases, but this may be the only one to make it to a courtroom before November's election. The presidential candidate's lawyers had aimed to delay or dismiss the case.

Trump, 77, faces fraud charges over payments he made to Daniels before the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty to all 34 charges, arguing the claims do not constitute "a crime".

During his bid to retake the White House, the former president and his legal team have sought to delay as many of his trials as possible.

But Justice Juan Merchan ruled on Monday that there was no reason to delay Trump's hush money trial any further, despite the defense’s arguments, and ordered the case to begin on April 15.

After spending much of Monday morning sitting next to his attorneys inside the courtroom, Trump told reporters that the case should be considered "election interference".

"It's a disgrace, and we will obviously be appealing," he said. "But this is a pure case of voter intimidation and election interference, and it shouldn't be allowed to happen."

The trial was originally set to begin with jury selection on Monday, but it was delayed after thousands of documents were released last week from the 2018 federal investigation into the payments to Daniels. — BBC.

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