Trump legal news brief: Court lowers bond in Trump fraud judgment appeal to $175 million


A New York appeals court on Monday lowers the bond amount that former President Donald Trump must pay as he appeals the $464 million judgment in his civil fraud trial, saying he can put up just $175 million within 10 days. The 11th hour deal temporarily prevents New York Attorney General Letitia James from moving to seize Trump’s assets. In Trump’s hush money trial, Judge Juan Merchan says jury selection can begin on April 15. Here are the latest legal developments involving the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for 2024.

New York financial fraud

Appeals court rules in favor of Trump hours before bond deadline

Key players: Trump, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Judge Arthur Engoron

  • On Monday, a New York appeals court lowered the bond amount Trump and his co-defendants must pay in order to appeal Engoron’s $464 million judgment in his civil fraud trail to just $175 million, Semafor reported.

  • The appeals court also gave Trump 10 days to pay that sum.

  • Speaking to reporters outside a hearing in his criminal hush money case in Manhattan, Trump said he would do so “very quickly.”

  • “I greatly respect the decision of the appellate division,” he said. “And I’ll post either $175 million in cash or bonds or security or whatever is necessary very quickly within the 10 days.”

  • James had begun clearing the way to seize some of Trump’s assets in order to secure the full bond amount.

Why it matters: Trump’s lawyers had argued that the original bond amount, which included interest, was “excessive.” They also told the court that 30 lenders had refused to give them a loan to cover the $464 million bond. This ruling buys Trump more time, and could keep James from freezing his bank accounts and seizing his assets.

Hush money case

Judge sets April 15 start date for Trump’s hush money trial

Key players: Judge Juan Merchan, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, adult film actress Stormy Daniels, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

  • With Trump looking on in court on Monday, Merchan ruled that the hush money trial could begin jury selection on April 15, The Daily Beast reported.

  • The trial had originally been scheduled to begin on March 25, but Merchan delayed it until April 15 after federal prosecutors submitted new evidence stemming from their investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election.

  • Merchan ruled Monday that the newly disclosed documents did not have any bearing on the hush money case, which will decide whether Trump broke New York campaign finance and tax laws when he paid Daniels $130,000 in 2016 to hide an alleged extramarital affair.

  • Trump’s lawyers had sought to have the case dismissed or to have it postponed so that they could have more time to review the newly disclosed documents.

  • “The defendant has been given a reasonable amount of time to prepare,” Merchan said.

Why it matters: Trump’s lawyers have skillfully delayed all of the criminal trials facing the former president. But Monday’s ruling could mean that streak could be coming to an end.

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