What’s Next in the Civil Fraud Case Involving Trump’s $355 Million?

Fri Feb 23 2024
Ray Pierce (820 articles)
What’s Next in the Civil Fraud Case Involving Trump’s $355 Million?

The former president and his company face a number of financial and logistical hurdles as a result of the recent $355 million New York fraud verdict against Donald Trump. However, there are still a number of ways in which the legal maneuvering is just getting underway. First, Trump’s legal team is trying to get the ruling delayed while the appeals process is underway. This is the current state of the case and what we know about its potential future developments.

The judge’s ruling, please.

After discovering that Trump had deceitfully used the values of his real estate empire to obtain advantageous loans, Justice Arthur Engoron sentenced him to pay $355 million plus interest. The survival of the Trump Organization is in jeopardy due to the heavy non-monetary fines that were imposed on Trump, his sons, and the family business.

For three years, Trump was barred by Engoron from holding any executive position with the Trump Organization or any other New York-based corporation. Two years later, his sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., were also barred. While Trump was in office, Engoron forbade his companies and himself from seeking loans from any bank that was either chartered or registered in New York for a period of three years. A court-appointed monitor is now keeping tabs on the Trump Organization’s money, and the judge just extended their term.

Does that choice become final immediately?

A formal decision was memorialized by Engoron’s signature on Thursday, marking his ruling. The clerk of the court still has to enter it. After that, it can be enforced in court, although attorneys for the civil defendants usually give them a little leeway before the victorious party tries to collect.

“Once the judgment is entered, there’s nothing stopping the attorney general from trying to collect on it,” said Jeffrey Metz of the New York real-estate company Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., and head of appellate practice.

Additionally, Trump has 30 days from the date of judgment entry to begin the appeal process.

Would Trump be able to try to delay the ruling for the time being?

On Thursday, the judge denied Trump’s plea that Engoron delay his decision for 30 days. While the former president’s appeal is pending, their next move may be to swiftly petition an appeals court to permanently halt the implementation of the financial penalty and the commercial limitations.

Trump might be required to put up collateral to ensure payment in the event that his appeal is denied. He might also put the whole sum in escrow.

Trump may have trouble getting a sizable bond from surety businesses because they need assurances that he would pay them back if he loses. Trump might also end up spending a good penny on bond premiums.

“Judgments of that magnitude are not all that common,” stated Ira Matetsky, a partner at the firm Dorf Nelson & Zauderer, when asked about the lack of precedent on the bonding of such verdicts. Unless Trump convinces the appeals court to change the bail requirements or give him more time, Matetsky said, he will likely need to get a bond very fast.

Legal representatives have speculated that the case’s unusualness might cause the proceedings to unfold in ways that are not common.

Requests for comment regarding the next steps were not responded to by Trump’s lawyers.

Is Trump financially prepared to pay if his appeal is rejected?

The former president’s ability to pay the judgment—which, with interest, could easily reach half a billion dollars—is uncertain in the event of a loss. It is unclear how much cash he has on hand, although estimates put his net worth at over $3 billion. He claimed to have $400 million in the bank during a deposition last year. He may have to liquidate part of his property holdings to make up the difference between the sum and the verdict.

Legal bills for Trump have been paid for with money that came from political action committees. Regarding the possibility that he could utilize such donations to settle a lawsuit, the Federal Election Commission has provided scant guidance.

If Trump is unable to pay the financial penalty, New York Attorney General Letitia James has threatened to seize his assets, according to an ABC News report.

James warned that the family would seek “judgment enforcement mechanisms” in court to have the judge take the defendant’s assets if he couldn’t pay the judgment.

James continued, “We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall St. each and every day,” mentioning Trump’s Manhattan skyscraper at that address.

James is allegedly working on a political vendetta against the former president, according to Trump’s legal team.

In what time frame will the remaining legal processes conclude?

A possible appeal had already been a major concern for Trump’s legal team prior to Engoron’s ruling. They will likely contend that James overstepped her bounds in launching the case and that she waited too long to question some of the alleged actions of Trump. They will probably also say the fine of $355 million was excessive.

A decision from an intermediate appeals court may not come for at least a year.

Are there ways out of New York for Trump?

The Trump Organization and the New York business ties involving Trump and his sons were specifically addressed in Engoron’s verdict. However, his real estate business is expected to be profoundly affected by the non-monetary consequences.

Since the majority of major U.S. banks are either registered or licensed with New York, the borrowing ban may affect the company’s worldwide development plans. Borrowing money from other sources is still an option for Trump, although it would be more difficult and involve smaller banks.

Since Trump’s company is still being overseen by a court-appointed monitor, it might be difficult to transfer assets from the Trump Organization to a different offshore entity. While the case was ongoing in 2022, a monitor was appointed with the authority to examine the company’s financial records and any proposed reorganization or sale of assets.

Ray Pierce

Ray Pierce

Ray Pierce is a Senior Market Analyst. He has been covering Asian stock markets for many years.