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Trump asks to delay his bond in Carroll verdict

Erik Larson, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK — Donald Trump asked a judge to delay execution of an $83.3 million jury verdict against him in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit and spare the former president from posting an appeals bond while he files several post-trial motions.

A delay until 30 days after the motions are resolved is warranted because an appeals court is likely to “substantially reduce, if not eliminate” the “plainly excessive” award, Trump attorney Alina Habba said in a letter Friday night to US District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.

Trump hasn’t yet appealed, and delaying execution of the judgment will give him more time to do so. It could also resolve some matters, like lowering the damages award, before appeal, according to the filing. Appeal bonds are generally 110% of a judgment, meaning Trump will soon have to post a “sizable” bond of $91.6 million to allow his appeal of the Carroll verdict, Habba said.

“As courts often recognize, the irrecoverable cost of time and money inherent in posting a substantial bond — especially a very large bond whose amount is very likely to be reduced, if not eliminated, by post-trial motions — constitutes irreparable injury,” Habba said in the filing.

The request comes as Trump faces a cash crunch after losing two high-stakes trials. In addition to the Carroll verdict, handed down Jan. 26, a New York judge last week hit the former president with $454 million in penalties in a civil fraud suit brought by New York state over his asset valuations.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, declined to comment on Trump’s motion.


Habba said in her filing that Carroll already conceded during trial — indeed testified to the jury — that Trump has vast wealth, suggesting there’s no risk he can’t pay.

“Having argued to the jury that President Trump has great financial resources, plaintiff is in no position to contradict herself now and contend that she requires the protection of a bond during the brief period while post-trial motions are pending,” Habba said.

Carroll, a writer and former Elle magazine advice columnist, went public in 2019 with a claim that Trump had raped her in the 1990s in a department store dressing room in Manhattan. When Trump accused her from the White House of lying to sell a book and to advance a political agenda, she sued him for defamation. According to her complaint, she suffered emotional distress and loss of reputation amid waves of social-media attacks by Trump supporters.

The $83.3 million verdict included $18.3 million in compensatory damages, including $7.3 million for emotional injuries and $11 million for a reputation-repair program; plus $65 million in punitive damages intended to punish Trump for his conduct. Trump said in his filing that the punitive-to-compensatory damages ratio of 3.6:1 is too high compared to similar cases.

Habba also took aim at the jury’s award for emotional injury, saying Carroll’s claim for emotional distress is properly classified as “garden variety.” The lawyer wrote that her client will raise “several meritorious issues” to challenge the verdict.

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