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How Will Trump Pay Half a Billion?

In the Trump business fraud judgment in New York, cash is King

CJ Sterling
5 min readFeb 17, 2024

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According to reporting from multiple legal experts, to file an appeal bond Trump has to pony up enough cash and collateral to equal at least 120% of the judgment amount in the New York business fraud trial. If or when Trump lawyers file an appeal.

BUT there is interest building up, which is why we heard different numbers yesterday. The current interest already has the amount to nearly $450 million. Judge Engoron set the pre-judgment interest at 9%. Post-judgment interest in New York is capped at 2%, according to Michael Popok of Legal AF podcast. Popok has tons of experience in the laws of creditor judgments. It is unclear whether an appeal would stop the interest from mounting -it hasn’t stopped the interest from mounting in the E. Jean Carroll defamation judgment award, where the estimated $99m with-interest is higher than the $83.3 million award.

Then Trump has to have a reasonable chance of winning on appeal. So that’s a calculation he has to make. Otherwise, it’s going to take cash and/or collateral for an appeal bond within 30 days of the judgment order.

Most reporting says he doesn’t have it. He self-reported he had about $400m cash back in April. Newer reports has it at $600 million.

Judge Engoron’s ban on applying for loans from banks registered or chartered in New York could severely restrict Trump’s ability to raise cash, since the biggest banks are generally registered in New York, which has been called the financial capital of the world. Or find a bond company with the assets and will to give the bond.

At any rate, Trump does not look like a great credit risk right now, and banks have to consider reputational damage if they somehow decide to loan an amount that, with the E. Jean Carroll judgment, is north of half a billion dollars.

That leaves sales of properties, bonds, stocks and collateral. One New York Times reporter, who has followed his money for years, reports that Trump has quietly been selling off smaller bits of properties, businesses, etc. But since his trial has been so public it makes sense that these sales were at fire sale prices, and Trump still has many ongoing expenses.

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CJ Sterling

Writer, journalist. Commentary: Washington Post, Economist, Daily Beast, New York Times, Seattle Times, Crosscut, The Stranger. 2.9 million views, Quora.