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Appeals court orders Donald Trump to pay full bond amount in New York civil fraud case

Former President Donald Trump sits in New York State Supreme Court during his civil fraud trial on January 11. File Photo by Michael M. Santiago/UPI
Former President Donald Trump sits in New York State Supreme Court during his civil fraud trial on January 11. File Photo by Michael M. Santiago/UPI

Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A New York appeals court ruled Wednesday that former President Donald Trump must pay the full bond amount equal to the $454 million civil fraud judgement against him.

The ruling comes after Trump offered to pay a $100 million bond in asking the court to pause the penalty. In an appeals court filing, Trump's attorneys called the $355 million penalty and additional interest "exorbitant and punitive."

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled earlier this month that Trump must pay $355 million for filing fraudulent financial statements that embellish the value of the Trump Organization's real estate properties. Engoron denied a request by Trump's attorneys last week to stay the enforcement of the penalty.

The penalty plus interest adds up to about $454 million. Trump, who is seeking the GOP nomination for re-election, is also banned from doing any business in New York for three years.

However, Associate Justice Anil Singh ruled Wednesday that Trump may seek a loan from a New York bank. This could allow him to access funds through the equity of his assets. Singh denied Trump's request to delay posting the bond.

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a press conference after a State Supreme Court decision in the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump on February 16. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a press conference after a State Supreme Court decision in the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump on February 16. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

"The exorbitant and punitive amount of the judgment coupled with an unlawful and unconstitutional blanket prohibition on lending transactions would make it impossible to secure and post a complete bond," Trump's attorneys argued in Wednesday's filing. "Appellants nonetheless plan to secure and post a bond in the amount of $100 million."

By paying the $100 million bond, Trump's team argued that Attorney General Letitia James should be assured that she can collect on the judgment if necessary. James has warned that she is prepared to take action in the court system to seize Trump's properties if the penalty is not paid.

On Wednesday, James implored the appeals court to deny Trump's request to stay the judgment. She asserts that it is likely Trump Organization properties will need to be sold to pay the penalty.

"Defendants all but conceded [Trump] has insufficient liquid assets to satisfy the judgment," James said.

Trump's lawyers filed an appeal of the fraud judgment on Monday. Alina Habba, the attorney that represented Trump in the case, said in a statement she expects the appeals court to overturn the judgment.

Trump supporters have raised more than $1.2 million to help pay the penalty against him. The fundraiser was started within hours of Engoron's ruling by Elena Cardone. More than 22,800 donations have been made, including an anonymous $10,000 contribution and several of $1,000 or more.