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Trump appeals $455m ruling in New York fraud trial

The former president was found liable for fraudulently inflating his net worth and assets over a decade

Alex Woodward
Monday 26 February 2024 15:19 GMT
Trump says his $355m fraud penalty is ‘a form of Navalny’

Donald Trump’s attorneys are appealing a $454m judgment against the former president after a sprawling civil trial found him liable for a decade of fraud in his family business.

Attorneys for Mr Trump and his co-defendants filed paperwork with a New York appellate court on Monday, arguing that the judge overseeing the case “committed errors” of law or facts, “abused its discretion” and “acted in excess of its jurisdiction”.

But the ruling against him won’t be paused until the former president and his co-defendants post a bond equal to the massive judgment against them.

If a bond is not posted within a 30-day period from the judgment, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office can begin seizing his assets. Monday’s filing did not mention the bond.

Mr Trump, his adult sons, two former Trump Organization executives and the entities associated with the brand-building properties in the Trump real estate empire were ordered to pay more than $464m at the conclusion of a three-year investigation and months-long trial.

A total judgment against Mr Trump alone amounts to nearly $455m with interest.

Post-judgment interest is accruing daily at the rate of 9 per cent per annum, or more than $114,000 for all defendants, including nearly $112,000 for Mr Trump alone.

The appeal was expected. His attorneys could not immediately appeal until the terms of a final judgment from Ms James were filed and approved.

Donald Trump appears inside New York County Supreme Court for the conclusion of his civil fraud on 11 January (AFP via Getty Images)

Last week, Judge Engoron rejected requests from Mr Trump’s attorneys to delay the judgment, telling them in an email that there is “no room for further debate” and “no basis” to stall.

His attorneys have gone to a state appeals court nearly a dozen times throughout the course of the lawsuit and trial, including successfully getting a pause on a damning pretrial ruling, and failing to block gag orders intended to block Mr Trump and others from disparaging court staff.

If he’s unsuccessful, he can request another appeal to the state’s highest appeals court.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump is preparing to go to trial in Manhattan next month on criminal charges for falsifying business records, adding to a busy legal calendar as he continues his campaign for the presidency.

The attorney general’s lawsuit in the civil fraud case accused Mr Trump and his co-defendants of fraudulently inflating the values of his assets in statements of financial condition. These statements, which lay at the very heart of the case, were then submitted to banks and insurers to obtain favourable financing terms that Mr Trump and his entities would not otherwise have received with statements that accurately reflected his financial state.

The total “disgorgement” owed that is now owed back to the state – money that is effectively forfeited as “ill-gotten gains” – amounts to roughly $364m, with an additional $100m in interest.

The defendants were also found liable for intentionally falsifying business records, conspiring to do so, and “repeatedly and persistently” issuing false financial statements.

Former Trump Organization executives Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney were also found liable for “repeatedly and persistently committing insurance fraud,” while all defendants were found liable for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

The judge banned Mr Trump from serving in top roles at any New York company, including his own, for three years. His adult sons – including Eric Trump, who effectively is running the Trump Organization – face two-year bans, throwing into doubt the Trump family’s ability to run a vital part of its empire.

Donald Jr and Eric Trump were also ordered to disgorge $4m each.

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