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Election Update: Donald Trump and New Money

On Monday, former President Donald Trump had a half full-half empty day in the courts. A New York appeals court ruling allows him to post a reduced $175 million bond as he appeals the $454 million judgment in his New York civic business fraud case. The original deadline for that bond was Monday, but the ruling now gives him 10 days to post the reduced bond. Trump said he will cover the bond using cash as a collateral.

But his criminal trial in New York over accusations of hush money he gave to adult star Stormy Daniels to keep her from going public about their alleged affair has a start date of April 15, even though Trump and his attorneys wanted that date delayed further.

According to reports, Trump claimed Friday he has roughly $500M in cash, but didn’t want to use it to cover the full bond of a $454M judgment. Now he won’t have to.

Last week, shareholders of Digital World Acquisition, a publicly traded company, approved a merger with Trump Media and Technology group—that’s the owner of Trump’s Truth Social Platform. That could make approximately $3.5 billion available to The Donald since he owns about 60 percent of the stock…but it’s nothing he can claim for six months. And there have been other efforts to help him secure the money.

In February, a woman in Florida started a GoFundMe account hoping to raise at least $355 million. As of this writing, that effort has stalled at just over $1.3 million.

So what happens if he can’t secure the necessary bond to cover the judgment, which his lawyers claim is not possible?  NPR reported on how it got to this point.

In February, Judge Arthur Engoron issued a ruling after finding Trump, his sons Eric and Donald Jr., and the Trump Organization had engaged in a multi-decade lie about the value of their assets. He determined that if Donald Trump had made more than $350 million, he should have been honest in his declarations. Added to interest, that amount now owed is over $454 million. The rule in New York is if you make money by persistently committing fraud, you owe the portion you fraudulently made back to the state.

New York Attorney General Letitia James was given “a roadmap” to Trump’s assets. She can send law enforcement to a financial institution and drain Trump’s bank account unless he can secure the bond. She cannot completely drain his account, but can by law down to a minimum balance of $3,000. If he posts the lower bond, this might not come into play.

There’s doubt that he actually had $500 million in liquid assets, with several news organizations saying he might have $300 million liquid. He’s had to set aside $100 million for a bond to pay the verdict in the E. Jean Carroll civil case

James has one immediate option–issuing a restraining order restricting Trump from spending in other areas until the bond is paid. The extra 10 days may give him time to come up with the $175 million.

"The restraining notice would say: 'Don't spend money, don't fill up your jet at the pump, until you pay the state of New York, or you'll be held in contempt of court,' "  said Adam Pollock, former assistant attorney general in New York. "And my impression is that ... Engoran, the judge here in New York, would be quick to hold him in contempt of court."




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