Monday, April 15, 2024

Judge Denies Trump’s Bid to Delay $454M Verdict, Putting N.Y. Assets at Risk of Seizure

'The judgment orders unprecedented and punitive disgorgement of nearly $460 million and overbroad permanent injunctive relief against Appellants in the absence of legal authority or factual support...'

(Former President Donald Trump needs to fork over $454 million to comply with the verdict in his civil fraud trial, a New York appeals court judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling by Associate Justice Anil Singh of the state Appellate Division denied Trump’s request to postpone his obligation to post bond for the $454 million until a five-member appellate panel hears his motion to stay enforcement of that judgment.

Along with separate judgment against him in the sexual-assault and defamation trials of serial rape-accuser E. Jean Carroll, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is currently obliged to pay nearly half a billion dollars to the deep-blue state, which has repeatedly contorted its legal standards—setting a dangerous precedent—in order to wage a barrage of lawfare attacks against Trump.

The ruling came in response to a motion by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who opposed Trump’s request and asked for the former president to be required to post the entire judgment to ensure the state gets the money if he loses his appeal. Carroll on Friday filed a similar opposition in the defamation case, involving a $38 million judgment, which Trump also intends to appeal.

James, who campaigned in 2018 and 2022 on a “Get Trump” platform, has threatened to seize Trump’s New York real-estate holdings if he is unable to cover the full amount.

Trump’s attorneys had offered to post a $100 million bond, about one-fourth of what is owed, to go toward the massive judgment imposed last week by far-left Judge Arthur Engoron, saying they couldn’t access the capital market to raise money because of the ban on obtaining loans.

Trump is required pay $355 million in penalties, which, with interest, has grown to nearly $454 million. That fine will increase by nearly $112,000 daily until he pays.

“The judgment orders unprecedented and punitive disgorgement of nearly $460 million and overbroad permanent injunctive relief against Appellants in the absence of legal authority or factual support,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in court documents.

Critics have noted that the excessive fine is likely a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment protections, broadly defined as “cruel and unusual punishments.”

Constitutional scholars further pointed to a majority opinion written by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Timbs v. Indiana stating that the “excessive fines” clause also applied to states.

But James argued that Trump was unlikely to prevail in his formal appeal and that a full bond was required because Trump lacked the cash to pay the judgment.

“There is no merit to defendants’ contention that a full bond or deposit is unnecessary because they are willing to post a partial undertaking of less than a quarter of the judgment amount,” James wrote in a court filing.

“Defendants all but concede that Mr. Trump has insufficient liquid assets to satisfy the judgment; defendants would need ‘to raise capital’ to do so,” she added.

In his ruling on Wednesday, Singh lifted a court-ordered ban on Trump’s ability to obtain loans from New York financial institutions to help raise the $454 million. The ruling also allows Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump to continue to run the family company, but ordered them to post more than $4 million to cover the cost of their appeals.

Trump formally filed his appeal in the case this week, accusing Engoron of “errors of law and/or fact, abused its discretion, and/or acted in excess of its jurisdiction.”

The civil case is one of Trump’s many legal challenges as he continues his march to the GOP presidential nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden in November.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, claiming the indictments are part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” to keep him off the ballot.

Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.

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