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 February 27, 2024

Trump appeals $464 million civil judgment in New York fraud case

Former President Donald Trump is appealing New York's $464 million civil judgment, which could delay payment until after the 2024 election, CNN reported. The judge handed down his decision Friday, and Trump's attorneys wasted no time filing the appeal the following business day.  

Attorneys for Trump argued that Judge Arthur Engoron "committed errors of law and/or fact, abused its discretion, and/or acted in excess of its jurisdiction" in his ruling. Trump will have to personally pay $355 million plus another $100 million in interest.

The case hinged on the claim that Trump inflated the value of his assets in order to obtain loans and insurance. The court did not show that anyone was injured in any way because of the valuations, however.

The former president's sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, are also on the hook for $4 million each. Two former officials from the Trump Organization were included in the judgment as well for their roles in the alleged infractions.

Bankrupting a Candidate

The hefty judgment and appeal come as Donald Trump is expected to be the GOP presidential nominee for 2024. "If he does not provide all those dollars, then that interest is going to keep ticking throughout the entirety of the case," criminal defense attorney Jeremy Saland warned.

"The bottom line is he’s in trouble. He doesn’t have to put up the money to appeal," Saland added.

"He puts up the money to stop bleeding more money. The way to cover that wound is with cash," the attorney said. That cash is what Donald Trump needs to continue his campaign.

To make matters worse, the former president is also prevented from doing business in New York for three years while he's expected to come up with this immense amount of cash, NBC News reported. He has 30 days to pay, post a bond, or get a judge to agree to reduce or freeze the amount due.

Meanwhile, the amount due will accrue $114,000 a day in interest, though his legal team is hopeful it won't come to that. "We trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious fine and take the necessary steps to restore the public faith in New York’s legal system," Donald Trump's attorney, Alina Habba, said.

A Political Prosecution?

The case against Donald Trump is questionable on the merits of it alone. However, New York Attorney General Letitia James's conduct seriously undermines her assertion that it has nothing to do with a "personal vendetta" against Donald Trump, the New York Post reported.

Since 2020, James has been pursuing this fraud case "witch hunt" against Donald Trump. The former president has accused her of "election interference" and likened the lawsuit to "weaponization against a political opponent."

To make matters worse, James has been trolling Donald Trump on X, formerly Twitter, by posting the amount of money he owes. "$464,576,230.62," the attorney general wrote on Feb. 23, the day the judgment was handed down.

The following day, she posted "+$114,553.04" referring to the additional interest. On Feb. 25, James posted "+$114,553.04 = $464,805,336.70" with the new total, further revealing her glee.

The case against Donald Trump is unprecedented, both for a former president and a presidential candidate, and the appeals court will have to decide if it will stand. At the very least, Trump may get to run out the clock on having to take the financial hit before the election.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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