Trump can't get $464 million bond in New York fraud case, his lawyers say

  • By Madeline Halbert
  • BBC News, New York

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Mr Trump's lawyers say they have approached dozens of securities firms but have been unable to secure one

Donald Trump has been unable to find a private company to guarantee the $464m (£365m) he has been ordered to pay in a New York civil fraud case.

The former president must either pay the full amount in cash or obtain a bond to pursue his appeal.

Mr Trump said it would be practically impossible to secure that level of bond.

He faces the possibility of liquidation of some of his real estate assets unless he pays up.

For a fee, a bonding company will guarantee the full amount to a New York court.

Mr Trump loses his appeal and they have to pay if he can't do that.

In his statement, Mr Trump said the bond he was being asked to pay was “impossible for any company, including a successful company like mine”.

“Securities have never heard of a bond of this size before,” he said.

Mr Trump's team “spent countless hours negotiating with the world's largest insurance company”, his lawyers said in court filings.

But they concluded that “very few bond companies would consider anything approaching that level a bond.”

Prosecutors said they approached 30 companies.

Trump's two oldest sons are also expected to pay millions of dollars in the case.

In addition to ordering Mr Trump to pay the fine, New York Judge Arthur Engoron banned the former president from doing any business in the state for three years after finding he falsely inflated his assets to get better loan deals.

A judge last month suspended Mr Trump's business ban but rejected an attempt to post a smaller bond amount of $100 million to cover the fine.

In a recent filing, the former president's lawyers included an affidavit from the head of a private insurance company who said “simply put, a bond of this magnitude is rarely, if ever, seen.”

“In unusual circumstances, a bond of this magnitude would be issued to the world's largest public company, not to individuals or privately run businesses,” the lawyers said.

Mr Trump's unprecedented legal situation makes it difficult to predict his next steps, said Diana Florence, a former federal prosecutor, who added that fines of this magnitude are usually levied against large corporations.

He said his legal team is playing late to appeal the verdict, but now he may be “off the ropes.”

“He faces the very real possibility that the AG will begin to dissolve [his assets]”It really depends on whether a court wants to give him more time,” Ms Florence said.

New York's attorney general has vowed to seize Trump's assets if the fraud judgment is not paid.

Interest on the fine is at least $112,000 per day until he pays it.

Mr Trump's lawyers said bond companies would not accept “hard assets like real estate as collateral” but only cash or “cash equivalent” investments that could be quickly liquidated.

According to Forbes estimates, Mr Trump is worth around $2.6 billion. He testified last year that he had $400 million in assets.

The $464 million judgment wasn't his only expense. In January, he was ordered to pay $83 million after losing a defamation lawsuit against E. Jean Carroll, a woman he was found to have sexually abused. He has already posted bond in that case.

Mr Trump suffered another legal setback on Monday in one of the four criminal cases he faces.

A New York judge rejected the former president's bid to block the testimony of two key witnesses who accused him of falsifying business records.

Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels may testify at the trial, which is set to begin in April, Judge Juan Merchan said.

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