NY appeals judge grants Trump partial win with stays on civil fraud ruling provisions, says he must still post bond for full judgment amount to halt enforcement

 February 29, 2024

Former President Donald Trump, as expected, filed an appeal of the massive judgment imposed against him by Judge Arthur Engoron in the civil fraud case brought against him in New York by that state's Democratic Attorney General Letitia James.

On Wednesday, Trump won a partial victory in that process as an appellate judge stayed some of the more onerous business-related provisions included in the judgment, though he remains on the hook for the hundreds of millions of dollars he now ostensibly owes the state, the Daily Caller reported.

The outrageous judgment followed a lengthy but one-sided jury-less trial, with a clearly biased judge and prosecutor aligned against him, in which Trump was declared guilty of engaging in fraudulent business practices even though the state failed to prove any individuals or entities had been victimized by the alleged fraud.

Appellate judge grants Trump a partial win with requested stays, must still post bond for full amount owed

CBS News reported that New York Appellate Judge Anil Singh ruled on Wednesday that former President Trump still needed to post a bond in the full amount of the judgment against him, at least $454 million and rising by the day, if he wanted to halt the immediate enforcement and collection efforts launched by AG James.

However, despite concerted opposition from the prosecutors, the judge did agree to grant Trump's request for a stay on some of the other punitive measures imposed by Judge Engoron, including a three-year ban on his ability to continue leading his eponymous Trump Organization and a three-year ban on his ability to apply for and receive loans from New York-based financial institutions.

That means that, at least for now, Trump can continue to run his real estate empire and take out any necessary loans to cover the bond that is needed to forestall enforcement of the judgment while the appeals process plays out.

Trump had offered to post a $100 million bond for that purpose and had argued that, without the ability to take out loans, he would have been compelled to liquidate and sell off some of his assets to come up with the full amount needed for the bond -- an argument that AG James asserted only bolstered her efforts to seek immediate enforcement of the judgment against him.

Civil fraud trial biased and unfair from the start

Those who have followed along with this saga will recall that AG James ran for office in 2018 on an explicit pledge to New York voters to "get Trump," and though she failed to find anything criminal to use against the former president, she did finally bring the civil fraud charges against him, his adult sons, the Trump Organization, and some of its top executives in 2022, according to the Daily Caller.

That jury-less trial in Judge Engoron's court began with a guilty verdict in September and finally ended this month with a $354 million punitive judgment compounded by pre-trial interest and continuing daily accrual of more interest every day until it is paid in full.

Meanwhile, per the CBS News report, James has been taunting Trump since the verdict from Engoron and openly discussing her intentions to begin seizing and liquidating some of his properties as soon as possible, despite the ongoing appeals process.

Turley says Trump won a "mixed victory" with appeals court

The Daily Caller reported that George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who has been outspokenly critical of the entire civil fraud case brought by AG James and the excessive judgment plus punitive measures imposed by Judge Engoron, called former President Trump's partial win at the appellate level a "mixed victory" on Wednesday.

In an interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum, Turley said, "It still leaves him with a rather onerous burden, but the decision of the lower court, in my view, was unfair. The judge imposed an unprecedented penalty under this law for this type of conduct."

"In fact, none of us have seen this law applied in this way. And by doing so, you not only hit Trump with this massive award, but required Trump to put the money up front under a separate rule, which requires you to deposit money or to get a bond," he continued. "And then Trump was hit with a 30-day deadline to do so, and then on top of that, he was unable to do business with some of the New York banks. Most of us felt that that was really beyond the pale."

"At some point, it becomes confiscatory just in order to bring an appeal. If you’re contesting an order taking your home, you shouldn’t have to sell your home to appeal that order," Turley added. "But people like Attorney General James were talking about precisely that. She was naming properties that she might seize or he might sell just to get the court of appeals to look at this opinion. So, it is a mixed victory for Trump, but it does give him some more options he didn’t have before."

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