Assets: Trump Faces Fate On Finances In Manhattan Court

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As Donald Trump sits in a Manhattan courtroom Monday for a hearing related to one of his criminal cases, he’ll also be facing a moment of truth for his finances: a deadline that same day to either post a bond to cover a $454 million civil fraud verdict or risk having New York state start the process of seizing some of his assets.

The billionaire real estate mogul has been warning for weeks he didn’t have enough cash to cover a bond while he appeals the verdict. He’d need 120% of the judgment, or about $545 million. Trump has asked the appeals court to waive the requirement, arguing he’ll be forced to hold a “fire sale” of his assets to raise cash. So far the court hasn’t ruled.

Trump said last week he has “almost $500 million” in cash, but claims he’d need closer to $1 billion in reserves to cover the bond and still have enough cash on hand to run his sprawling real estate company. The former president said the cash crunch emerged after 30 insurance companies that arrange such bonds refused to take any of his properties as collateral.

The weight of Trump’s many court fights has put a strain on his finances, with rising legal bills and a costly campaign for a return to the White House. He lost a defamation trial in Manhattan earlier this year — posting a $91.6 million bond to appeal that verdict — and faces four criminal prosecutions in three states and the District of Columbia.

New York Attorney General, Letitia James, who won the civil fraud trial after suing Trump, has threatened to seize assets if he doesn’t pay up. She could start the process as soon as Monday, though it’s also possible she could wait to see how the appeals court rules. James has already registered her whopping judgment in Westchester County near Manhattan, a sign that Trump’s properties there could be at risk.

The bond deadline Monday in the fraud case coincides with Trump’s appearance in one of his criminal cases. He’ll be in court for a high-stakes hearing on his last-ditch bid to dismiss charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who accused Trump of falsifying business records to disguise hush money payments to a porn star before the 2016 election.

The hush-money trial was originally set to start Monday, but Justice Juan Merchan delayed it after Trump’s lawyers complained tens of thousands of pages of potentially relevant evidence was turned over at the last minute. The records relate to information gathered years earlier during a separate federal investigation of Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who helped arrange the payments and is expected to be a key government witness against his former boss.

Bragg’s case will be the first of the criminal cases to go to trial and so far the only one scheduled to go before a jury before the November election. It’s not clear yet when trials will start in the separate election-interference cases in Washington and Georgia, or the classified records case in Florida. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has denied wrongdoing in all the cases and assailed Bragg’s prosecution as a “witch hunt.”

Bragg indicted Trump almost a year ago, alleging the billionaire filed false business records as part of scheme to suppress allegations by the porn star and others that threatened to hurt his 2016 campaign for president.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance and tax charges tied to the hush-money payments. At the time, prosecutors said Cohen paid porn star, Stormy Daniels $130,000 to buy her silence about a sexual encounter with Trump a decade earlier. The US said the payment was made with Trump’s knowledge but didn’t charge him because the Justice Department maintained a sitting president could not be indicted.

Bragg’s state indictment unsealed last April alleged Trump falsified his company’s business records by claiming he reimbursed Cohen for legal work to conceal the true nature of the hush-money payments.