Trump can’t post $464M bond in New York civil case, lawyers say

March 20, 2024

Former President Donald Trump told an appellate court in New York City on Monday, March 18, that he can’t obtain a bond for the full amount of the civil fraud judgment against him—more than $450 million, including interest—raising the possibility that the state Attorney General’s Office could begin to seize his assets unless the court agrees to halt the judgment while the former president appeals the verdict, reports Politico.

Trump’s lawyers said in a court filing that “ongoing diligent efforts have proven that a bond in the judgment’s full amount is a ‘practical impossibility,’” adding that those efforts “have included approaching about 30 surety companies through four separate brokers.”

When a defendant appeals a civil judgment, the defendant can prevent collection efforts while the appeal proceeds by either posting the full amount into an escrow fund or securing a third-party bond to guarantee the full amount.

Trump’s deadline for doing so is March 25, unless the appeals court agrees to either stop the judgment or allow him to post a bond for a smaller amount.

Trump previously told the appellate court that he doesn’t have the cash to prevent the enforcement of the judgment.

Late last month, an appeals court judge denied Trump’s request to pause the enforcement of the judgment for widespread business fraud. A full panel of the New York appeals court—known as the First Department of the Appellate Division—now is considering whether to halt the judgment while Trump pursues his appeal.

Trump’s lawyers have offered that Trump could post a $100 million bond—far less than what would typically be needed to stave off enforcement of the judgment. James’s office has opposed that proposal.

In their filing Monday, Trump’s lawyers said the defendants—including Trump, his adult sons, their business associates, and several of Trump’s companies—lacked the cash to secure a bond for the more than $464 million they collectively owe.

“A bond requirement of this enormous magnitude—effectively requiring cash reserves approaching $1 billion—is unprecedented for a private company,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

They told the appellate court that “very few bonding companies will consider a bond of anything approaching that magnitude,” and that the ones that will won’t accept real estate as collateral, instead requiring “cash or cash equivalents (such as marketable securities).”

They added that obtaining funds “through a ‘fire sale’ of real estate holdings would inevitably result in massive, irrecoverable losses—textbook irreparable injury.”

Research contact: @politico