Trump’s lawyers keep fighting $454M fraud appeal bond requirement

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers kept pressing an appellate court Thursday to excuse him from covering a $454 million fraud lawsuit judgment for now, saying he’d suffer “irreparable harm” before his appeal is decided.

The financial requirement is “patently unjust, unreasonable and unconstitutional,” one of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s lawyers, Clifford Robert, wrote in a letter to a New York appeals court.

It’s the latest in a flurry of arguments and counterarguments that Trump’s attorneys and New York state lawyers are making ahead of Monday, when state Attorney General Letitia James can start taking steps to collect the massive sum — unless the appeals court intervenes.

Trump’s lawyers want the court to hold off collection, without requiring him to post a bond or otherwise cover the nine-figure judgment, while he appeals the outcome of his recent civil business fraud trial.

A judge ruled that Trump, his company and key executives deceived bankers and insurers by producing financial statements that hugely overstated his fortune. The defendants deny the claims.

The judge ordered Trump to pay $355 million in penalties, plus interest that already has pushed the total over $454 million and is growing daily. That doesn’t count money that some co-defendants were ordered to pay.

Appealing doesn’t, in itself, halt collection. But Trump would automatically get such a reprieve if he puts up money, assets or an appeal bond covering what he owes.

The presumptive Republican nominee’s lawyers said earlier this week that he couldn’t find anyone willing to issue a bond for the huge amount.

They added that underwriters insisted on cash, stocks or other liquid assets instead of real estate as collateral and wanted 120% of the judgment, or more than $557 million. Trump’s company would still need to have cash left over to run the business, his attorneys have noted.

Lawyers for James, a Democrat, maintained in a filing Wednesday that Trump could explore other options. Among the state’s suggestions: dividing the total among multiple bonds from different underwriters, or letting a court hold some of the former president’s real estate empire while he appeals.

Robert, Trump’s attorney, said in his letter Thursday that the divide-and-bond strategy wouldn’t make a difference because it still would require $557 million in liquid assets as collateral. Having a court hold real estate during the appeal is “impractical and unjust” and essentially amounts to what a court-appointed monitor already has been doing, Robert wrote.

Making Trump cover the judgment in full “would cause irreparable harm,” Robert added.

A message seeking comment was sent to James’ office.

Trump called the bond requirement “crazy,” in all capital letters, in a post Wednesday on his Truth Social platform.

“If I sold assets, and then won the appeal, the assets would be forever gone,” he wrote.