Experts say ruling in Trump’s business fraud trial could spell financial ruin: Report

As Donald Trump’s New York civil fraud trial nears its conclusion, it appears likely that he could face many millions of dollars in financial penalties. It further seems that two New York laws could damage Trump’s business empire even further. A new report from The Daily Beast explains that Trump could be required to make an enormous payout immediately, rather than spreading the penalty payments over time. 

The Beast reports that the impending judgment expected from Justice Arthur Engoron will be subject to a 9% interest rate that could make the sum significantly larger, and that an additional penalty of 10% to 20% could result if Trump decides to appeal Engoron’s ruling. Though Trump has routinely boasted about his wealth, it’s not clear how much ready cash he actually has available, and he remains inprecarious financial territory as a direct result of his numerous legal woes — in addition to the fraud trial, Trump was recently ordered to shell out $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll for defamation. 

“It’s not often that there are cases like this where the person’s financial ability to pay is really in question,” N. Alex Hanley, an expert in corporate appeals, told the Daily Beast. “The subject of the case is whether the values of his properties are what he says they are. He may have some trouble with that.”

Other experts noted the irony in Trump’s current standing as the prospective 2024 Republican presidential nominee; during his first term in the White House, Trump used his executive power to block or delay civil cases against him. Given those circumstances, sources told the Beast, it seems unlikely that Trump can find a lender willing to offer him millions if they fear they could have to wait until 2029 for any repayments to begin.  

“Sureties require an indemnification agreement, a contract for the bond. Now a concern would be: How do you perfect an indemnity of the person that could be the next sitting president? How do you take that person to court?” said Neil Pedersen, who leads an appellate bond agency in New York. 

“These companies are pretty conservative by nature,” Hanley said. “They’re not likely to get involved in something that they think will get dragged on for a long time — and potentially not get paid for it. This has never been done, so it’s completely unprecedented.”

Trump is likely to appeal whatever ruling Engoron hands down. Experts told the Daily Beast that his options are either to pay a large appellate bond directly to the court or to find a surety company that would guarantee the funds on his behalf. Trump’s position is complicated, in the words of the Beast report, by the fact that he needs “to prove that he’s trustworthy — in the midst of a trial that proved he’s anything but.”

Engoron’s forthcoming ruling could also allow New York Attorney General Letitia James to seize some of the Trump Organization’s real estate assets, rendering the former president unable to sell buildings to generate cash. Long Island criminal defense attorney Evans D. Prieston explored several hypothetical scenarios in an interview with the Beast, observing that the court could decide to “denude him of his assets … and those assets are the very thing he’d need as collateral” for a loan. 

In the recent past, Trump has seemingly funneled money donated by his supporters toward his legal expenses, and Trump-aligned super PACs have paid lawyers representing alleged MAGA co-conspirators. Experts have already cautioned that it would be illegal for Trump to use 2024 campaign funds to pay Carroll the damages he now owes her. Trump’s financial future may rely on “his friends and how much money he has,” as Prieston told the Beast. “Jared Kushner knows Saudi Arabia. Who knows what’s going to happen?”

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about Trump as the walls close in


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