Trump's attorneys tell appeals court he can't secure $464M bond for fraud judgment

Trump's lawyers called a filing from the New York AG "illogical" and "unjust."

ByAaron Katersky and Peter Charalambous ABCNews logo
Thursday, March 21, 2024
Key questions as Trump hurtles toward deadline to pay $454 million fraud penalty
Donald Trump is hurtling toward a critical deadline in his most costly legal battle to date.

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump are doubling down on their claim that securing a bond for his $464 million civil fraud judgment is impossible, according to a letter sent to New York's Appellate Division Thursday.

Trump attorney Clifford Robert described New York Attorney General Letitia James' suggestion Wednesday that Trump secure multiple smaller bonds or hand over property to the court as "illogical," "unconstitutional," "impractical," and "unjust."

"Perhaps worst of all, the Attorney General argues that Defendants should be forced to dispose of iconic, multi-billion-dollar real-estate holdings in a 'fire sale,'" Robert wrote in the letter.

Trump family judgments in civil fraud case.
ABC News

Pushing back on the suggestion that Trump could hand over properties to the court, Robert said that the proposal was impractical and "functionally equivalent" to the Trump Organization's court-appointed monitor.

He argued that James' suggestion that Trump procure a series of smaller bonds would fail to resolve Trump's current predicament because lenders are still unwilling to offer a bond using both cash and property as collateral.

"As explained in Defendants' Affirmations, those separate bonds would still require a total collateralization of cash or cash equivalents in excess of $557 million, regardless of how many sureties were involved," the letter said.

donald trump
FILE - Former President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York, Jan. 11, 2024.
Shannon Stapleton/Pool Photo

Trump faces a Monday deadline to secure a bond or pay the full amount of his $464 million civil fraud judgment; if he fails to meet the deadline, James told ABC News last month that she would ask the court to seize Trump's properties.

"It would be completely illogical -- and the definition of an unconstitutional Excessive Fine and a Taking -- to require Defendants to sell properties at all, and especially in a 'fire sale,' in order to be able to appeal the lawless Supreme Court judgment, as that would cause harm that cannot be repaired once the Defendants do win, as is overwhelmingly likely, on appeal," Robert wrote on Thursday.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron in February ordered Trump to pay $464 million in disgorgement and pre-judgment interest after he found the former president and his adult sons liable for using "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation" to inflate his net worth in order to get more favorable loan terms. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and has appealed the decision in the case.

Earlier this week, Trump's lawyers argued that the former president is unable to secure a bond for the judgment, having been rejected by over 30 insurance companies due to its size and his need to post properties as collateral.