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Trump owes $112,000 for every day he doesn't pay fraud fine

Erik Larson, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK — Every day Donald Trump delays paying New York state’s $454 million civil verdict against him over his fraudulent asset valuations, the whopping fine is increasing by almost $112,000 in interest.

The amount, calculated by Attorney General Letitia James, will continue to be added even as the former president challenges the Feb. 16 verdict, a process he began on Monday morning by filing a notice of appeal in state court in Manhattan. His decision to challenge the verdict instead of paying it poses the risk that it could balloon during a drawn-out appeal.

The fine already includes $99 million of pre-trial interest that the judge said started accruing as far back as 2019, in line with what James requested in the case. The post-trial daily increase, calculated by James, amounts to about $3.36 million a month, or more than $4,600 an hour.

Trump’s sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., as well as former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who were also sued, were hit with fines totaling more than $10 million. Total interest for the entire $464.6 million fine is $114,553 a day, a figure that James has highlighted on X.

Even without the daily interest of $111,983.86 for Trump, the verdict threatens to drain most — if not all — of the cash he testified to having on hand last year. In a sworn deposition in the case, he said he had “substantially in excess” of $400 million in cash. Trial losers generally have to post bonds with the court equal to 110% of a verdict in order to appeal, meaning Trump may soon have to put up cash and other collateral in his bid to overturn the fine.

“We trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious fine and take the necessary steps to restore the public faith in New York’s legal system,” his attorney Alina Habba said in a statement.

Trump’s appeal of the civil verdict comes as the former president is facing a separate, $83.3 million jury verdict against him, as well as four criminal prosecutions as he campaigns to return the White House. One of those cases, over his hush money payments to a porn star before the 2016 election, is set for trial March 25 in Manhattan.

Trump previously vowed to challenge Justice Arthur Engoron’s verdict. Trump’s filing on Monday contained no detail on his planned appeals arguments, but he has argued that no banks lost money by lending to him, and that real estate developers have wide latitude to value their properties as they see fit. The notice also said the other defendants were appealing.

 

Engoron, who issued the verdict without a jury, held that Trump inflated the value of his assets by as much as $3.6 billion a year to get better terms on loans from Deutsche Bank AG and other lenders, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in “illegal profit” over more than a decade.

The verdict was a major victory for James, whose three-year investigation began when former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen went public with allegations that his former boss exaggerated his wealth to dupe banks. Cohen was a key witness at the trial, which spanned almost 11 weeks.

Trump is separately planning to appeal the $83.3 million jury verdict he was hit with in a defamation lawsuit by E. Jean Carroll, the author and former Elle magazine columnist who accused him of rape. Last week, the former president asked a judge to delay execution of the judgment in that case and spare him from posting an appeals bond while he files several post-trial motions.

Given the typical 110% of the judgment required for an appeal bond, Trump will soon have to post a “sizable” bond of $91.6 million to allow his appeal of the Carroll verdict, Habba said in the Feb. 23 filing. She called the verdict “plainly excessive” and predicted it would be lowered significantly on appeal.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who oversaw the trial of Carroll’s lawsuit, issued a brief order on Monday giving the former columnist until Feb. 29 to respond to Trump’s request.

“The court declines to grant any stay, much less an unsecured stay, without first having afforded plaintiff a meaningful opportunity to be heard,” the judge said.


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