New York AG pushes back on Trump’s ‘extraordinary’ request to stay $464M fraud judgment

Written by on March 20, 2024

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(NEW YORK) — New York Attorney General Letitia James is pushing back on Donald Trump’s “extraordinary” request for a stay of his $464 million civil fraud judgment, arguing the former president’s recent request was unreliable, procedurally improper and based on a flawed premise.

“There is nothing unusual about even billion-dollar judgments being fully bonded on appeal,” Senior Assistant Solicitor General Dennis Fan said in a filing this morning. “Defendants object to a possible ‘fire sale’ if they were to sell assets to generate cash to use as collateral for a bond or as a deposit —but the alternative would be to shift the risk of executing on defendants’ illiquid assets to OAG.”

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.

The AG argued that the former president has failed to demonstrate his effort to secure a bond using properties as collateral, suggesting the issue is a product of Trump’s doing because his “holdings are not nearly as valuable as defendants claim.”

“Defendants supply no documentary evidence that demonstrates precisely what real property they offered to sureties, on what terms that property was offered, or precisely why the sureties were unwilling to accept the assets,” the filing said. “As far as the Court can infer, sureties may have refused to accept defendants’ specific holdings as collateral because using Mr. Trump’s real estate will generally need ‘a property appraisal’ … and his holdings are not nearly as valuable as defendants claim.”

If Trump is unable to secure a single bond for the $464 million judgment, James said the former president could attempt to secure multiple smaller bonds – “$100 or $200 million apiece” – or consent to have his real-estate interests held by the Supreme Court to satisfy the judgment.

“The use of real estate as collateral for an appeal bond is hardly impossible as a general matter,” the filing said.

In response to the filing, Trump’s attorney Chris Kise described the AG’s move as a “brazen abuse of power.”

“The Attorney General’s latest filing demonstrates her continued willingness to misrepresent the facts and misconstrue applicable law in her political crusade against President Trump. Today’s missive does not even bother to cite New York case law,” Kise said. “The Attorney General also includes a baseless, malicious, and defamatory assault on an individual who had no role in any of the transactions or matters at issue. This brazen abuse of power will continue until some judicial officer musters the courage to say ‘enough.’ Until then, the damage to the New York business community and to the rule of law is irretrievable.”

The AG’s filing criticized Trump’s attempt to introduce two affirmations from both Trump Organization General Counsel Alan Garten — who James alleged was “personally involved in the fraudulent and illegal conduct that gave rise to the judgment in this case” – and Trump’s broker Gary Giulietti. James characterized the two affirmations as “unreliable.”

“The affirmation from Gary Giulietti does not disclose that he was an expert witness for defendants at trial or that Supreme Court found Mr. Giulietti’s trial testimony to lack credibility,” the filing said. “Moreover, Mr. Giulietti has a ‘personal financial interest in the outcome of the case,’ because his company earns commission from the Trump Organization, including $1.2 million in 2022.”

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization described the Attorney General’s claims about the Garten affirmation as “reckless, unethical and sanctionable.”

“The Court made no such finding. The AG’s gross misstatement is reckless, unethical and sanctionable,” the spokesperson told ABC News.

Judge Arthur Engoron in February ordered Trump to pay $464 million in disgorgement and interest after holding him liable for doing a decade’s worth of business with fraudulent financial statements that overvalued his real estate holdings and hyped his wealth. Trump was also barred from leading any New York company for three years. His sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump were also fined $4 million apiece and barred for two years. They denied any wrongdoing.

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