New York AG takes 1st step toward possibly seizing Trump’s assets as part of $464M fraud judgment

Written by on March 21, 2024

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump walk together as they prepare to vote at a polling station setup in the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center, Mar. 19, 2024, in Palm Beach, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — New York Attorney General Letitia James has taken an initial step toward laying the groundwork for a possible seizure of former President Donald Trump’s assets in New York’s Westchester County as part of the $464 million judgment in Trump’s civil fraud trial.

State officials have entered the judgment from Trump’s civil fraud trial in Manhattan with the county clerk’s office in Westchester, which would allow James to move to take possession of Trump National Golf Course in Briarcliff Manor and Seven Springs, a private estate in Bedford, if Trump fails to secure a bond.

His lawyers this week said Trump is facing “insurmountable difficulties” obtaining a bond to cover the $464 million judgment imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron. They have asked an appeals court for permission to post a smaller bond or none at all.

If Trump does not secure a financial guarantee by Monday’s deadline, James could begin the legal process of seizing Trump’s bank accounts and physical assets in Manhattan and Westchester through liens and foreclosures.

A representative from the Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

On Thursday, lawyers for Trump doubled down on their claim that securing the bond is impossible, according to a letter sent to New York’s Appellate Division Thursday.

Trump attorney Clifford Robert described James’ suggestion Wednesday that Trump secure multiple smaller bonds or hand over property to the court as “illogical,” “unconstitutional,” “impractical,” and “unjust.”

“Perhaps worst of all, the Attorney General argues that Defendants should be forced to dispose of iconic, multi-billion-dollar real-estate holdings in a ‘fire sale,'” Robert wrote in the letter.

Pushing back on the suggestion that Trump could hand over properties to the court, Robert said that the proposal was impractical and “functionally equivalent” to the Trump Organization’s court-appointed monitor.

He argued that James’ suggestion that Trump procure a series of smaller bonds would fail to resolve Trump’s current predicament because lenders are still unwilling to offer a bond using both cash and property as collateral.

“As explained in Defendants’ Affirmations, those separate bonds would still require a total collateralization of cash or cash equivalents in excess of $557 million, regardless of how many sureties were involved,” the letter said.

“It would be completely illogical — and the definition of an unconstitutional Excessive Fine and a Taking — to require Defendants to sell properties at all, and especially in a ‘fire sale,’ in order to be able to appeal the lawless Supreme Court judgment, as that would cause harm that cannot be repaired once the Defendants do win, as is overwhelmingly likely, on appeal,” Robert wrote on Thursday.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron in February ordered Trump to pay $464 million in disgorgement and pre-judgment interest after he found the former president and his adult sons liable for using “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” to inflate his net worth in order to get more favorable loan terms. Trump has denied all wrongdoing and has appealed the decision in the case.

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.

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