March 21, 2024

Trump’s Bond

“Donald Trump’s lawyers told a New York appellate court Monday that it’s impossible for him to post a bond covering the full amount of a $454 million civil fraud judgment while he appeals, suggesting the former president’s legal losses have put him in a serious cash crunch. Trump’s lawyers wrote in a court filing that ‘obtaining an appeal bond in the full amount’ of the judgment ‘is not possible under the circumstances presented.’…

“Trump claimed last year that he has ‘fairly substantially over $400 million in cash,’ but back-to-back courtroom defeats have pushed his legal debt north of a half-billion dollars… Few underwriters were willing to issue such a large bond and none would accept Trump’s real estate assets as collateral, instead requiring cash or cash equivalents, such as stocks or bonds, his lawyers said. Trump’s lawyers said freeing up cash by offloading some of Trump’s properties in a ‘fire sale’ would be impractical because such cut-rate deals would result in massive, irrecoverable losses.” AP News

Here’s our previous coverage of the case. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left argues that the penalty is justified, and worries that Trump’s financial woes will endanger the country.

“The $454 million penalty levelled was large, Judge Engoron explained in his opinion, because at the trial Trump and his fellow defendants displayed a ‘complete lack of contrition and remorse’ that ‘borders on the pathological.’ Their ‘refusal to admit error,’ the judge wrote, ‘constrains this Court to conclude that they will engage in it going forward unless judicially restrained.’…

“Engoron further noted that the Trump Organization had a history of corporate misbehavior in New York State—he cited, among other examples, the Trump University fraud and the Trump Foundation fraud, two cases earlier litigated by the state attorney general—and ‘the more evidence there is of defendants’ ongoing propensity to engage in fraud, the more need there is for the Court to impose stricter injunctive relief.’”

Timothy Noah, New Republic

"Trump’s attorneys argue that huge damage awards are routinely stayed so that the appeals process can play out. But that’s not always the case. In 2016, Gawker Media lost a $140 million judgement to former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, and the Florida judge in the case refused to stay the execution of payment of damages. Unable to pay either the judgement or the $50 million bond that was required, Gawker was forced into bankruptcy.”

Russ Choma, Mother Jones

"The former, and perhaps future, president looks like he is on the financial ropes, and that makes him potentially even more dangerous…

“It was Trump himself who highlighted the governing conflicts that could emanate from depending on other people’s money. Boasting, as he always has, of being fabulously rich, he told the 2016 voters that his campaign, unlike that of his rival, was completely self-funded. That wasn’t true, of course, but his argument was actually correct. Nobody would control him, he claimed, because those who give you money expect something in return. ‘I don’t need anybody’s money,’ Trump said… Now Trump needs money, a lot of it.”

Frida Ghitis, CNN

Some argue, “The conundrum is that the very size of the judgment, and the consequent size of the bond that Trump is required to post, might make him unable to appeal… That can’t be right. It would mean that the more outrageous and disproportionate a damages award is, the harder it is to appeal… The rule of law counsels — in fact, it demands — treating the most repulsive among us with the same due process and other elements of fair treatment accorded to more sympathetic characters.”

Ruth Marcus, Washington Post

From the Right

The right argues that the penalty is far too high and that requiring a bond to appeal violates Trump’s due process rights.

The right argues that the penalty is far too high and that requiring a bond to appeal violates Trump’s due process rights.

“Trump can appeal the underlying assessment, but the bond payment is due in advance of the appeal as security in case a final ruling goes against him. Yet if he can’t afford to post bond, he begins losing his assets before his main appeal can be heard. Trump may as well be facing the Queen in Alice’s Wonderland who insisted on applying the ‘sentence first — [appeals] verdict afterwards.’ Logically, this is insanity…

“Trump acted dishonestly in multiple ways while securing business loans. Yet as noted by almost every salient observer, not even the banks suffered any losses from Trump’s conduct, so the real ‘victims’ were the overall banking and financial markets…  

“Under a semi-reasonable theory, the markets suffered losses at the margins, diffused through the whole economy, because Trump’s gaming of the system arguably nabbed resources that others might have enjoyed. To penalize Trump by $355 million (plus interest) for this offense is akin to assessing a $50,000 fine on a non-injury-causing jaywalker.”

Quin Hillyer, Washington Examiner

“Whatever his transgressions, defendants are entitled to due process, which includes the right to appeal. Ms. James is trying to short-circuit the justice system to get Mr. Trump, as she promised she would during her 2018 campaign. Anyone who does business in New York ought to worry about how Ms. James could likewise twist the screws on them.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Trump’s team contends that, given the lack of victims and of any appreciable harm to the state, the penalty is so out of proportion to any decipherable wrong that it violates the Eighth Amendment’s guarantee against excessive fines…

“[The judgment] was ordered by Judge Arthur Engoron, an elected progressive Democrat, after a bench trial of the lawsuit brought by the state’s attorney general Letitia James — an elected progressive Democrat.”

Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review

“There is nothing resembling actual justice unfolding here, but justice was never the point of all of this. Letitia James ran for office on a promise to ‘get Trump.’ And that's been basically all she has done since being sworn in. All of this nonsense should be wiped away later, but as long as James and Judge Engoron can keep Donald Trump on the ropes until the election, their role in this unsavory drama will have been fulfilled. That's been the goal since the beginning.”

Jazz Shaw, Hot Air

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