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New York attorney general disputes Trump's claim that he can't secure $464 million to post bond

A lawyer for New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday disputed former President Donald Trump's claim that he can't secure more than $460 million needed to post bond and appeal the civil fraud ruling against him, writing in a filing that the court should deny Trump's "extraordinary request" to appeal without posting the full amount.

On Monday, Trump's lawyers told the court handling the appeal that it was a "practical impossibility" that he and other defendants could obtain the bond by March 25. 

In his response on Wednesday, Dennis Fan, a senior assistant solicitor general for the state, called Trump's filing "procedurally improper" and said the court should disregard it. He wrote that Trump's issues should have been raised in an earlier filing, and could have been, since "their efforts to obtain that bond began before their stay motion was filed and indeed before judgment was even entered."

In February, a New York judge ordered Trump and his co-defendants to pay more than $450 million in penalties and interest for a decade-long fraud scheme, one of the largest corporate sanctions in New York history. Trump must secure a bond for the full amount of the judgment, which continues to accrue interest, for his appeal to move forward. The attorney general has said the state would seize some of his assets if he's unable to come up with the money.

Former President Donald Trump during his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023.
Former President Donald Trump during his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023.  Jeenah Moon/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Fan also briefly knocked many of the claims Trump made, noting that they're not required to find just one underwriter to provide the entire bond, but instead can combine multiple sureties for the full total.

"Defendants' argument that obtaining a full bond is purportedly impossible is based on the false premise that they must obtain a single bond from a single surety for the entire judgment amount of $464 million," Fan wrote. "But appealing parties may bond large judgments by dividing the bond amount among multiple sureties, thereby limiting any individual surety's risk to a smaller sum, such as $100 or $200 million apiece."

Fan questioned why prospective backers have refused to accept Trump real estate assets as collateral, and suggested it's because the properties have been fraudulently valued.

"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," Fan wrote.

Christopher Kise, an attorney for Trump, criticized James and the filing in a statement to CBS News, claiming they "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. 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," Kise said. "This brazen abuse of power will continue until some judicial officer musters the courage to say 'enough.'"

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has harshly criticized James' investigation for years, calling himself the victim of a political persecution by a Democrat. James' office uncovered a scheme in which Trump and his company used falsified real estate and net worth valuations to obtain loan and insurance terms that a judge found led to hundreds of millions in "ill-gotten gains."

Fan also criticized two letters submitted along with Trump's Monday filing, the first from insurance broker Gary Giulietti. Fan pointed out that Giulietti testified during the fraud trial and was later criticized by the judge.

"Gary Giulietti does not disclose that he was an expert witness for defendants at trial or that [New York Judge Arthur Engoron] found Mr. Giulietti's trial testimony to lack credibility," Fan wrote, referring to the judge who oversaw the trial. "As the court explained, Mr. Giulietti 'has an ongoing personal and professional relationship with Donald Trump.'"

Giulietti, president of private insurance firm Lockton Companies, wrote that he believes it "is not possible under the circumstances presented" for the defendants to secure a bond.

Fan also criticized a letter from Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten, who said the company approached more than 30 surety companies. According to Garten, most did not have the "financial strength" to support such a large bond, and the "vast majority" of those that did were "unwilling to accept the risk associated with such a large bond."

Fan urged the appeals court to disregard Garten's claims.

"He was personally involved in the fraudulent and illegal conduct that gave rise to the judgment in this case," Fan wrote, citing Engoron's Feb. 16 ruling handing down the judgment.

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