As Trump’s $454 million fraud judgment deadline looms, son Eric gripes ‘they want to bankrupt him’

Real Estate

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after voting at a polling station setup in the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center on March 19, 2024, in Palm Beach, Florida. 
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Donald Trump faces the severe risk that New York‘s attorney general will begin trying to collect a $454 million civil business fraud judgment against him on Monday unless an appeals court gives the former president a last-minute reprieve.

Trump’s son Eric, a co-defendant in the fraud case, accused Attorney General Letitia James on Sunday of trying to bankrupt his father with the judgment.

Donald Trump’s lawyers have said he is unable to pay for an appeal bond that would prevent the AG from collecting the judgment as he seeks to overturn the fraud verdict — and James told an appeals court last week that it should reject his request to pause the judgment from taking effect.

“They’re trying to deprive him of his cash, they want to bankrupt him, they want to hurt him so badly,” Eric Trump told Fox News in an interview.

“And it’s going to backfire, because he’s going to win this in November, and everybody in this country universally knows exactly what these people are doing,” Eric said.

Eric also said, “No one’s ever seen a bond this size.”

“Every single person when I came to them saying ‘Hey, can I get a half-billion dollar bond?’ … [T]hey were laughing. They were laughing,” Eric said.

Eric’s complaint came days after news that James’s office had registered the massive fraud judgment with the Westchester County, New York, county clerk’s office. Registration is required if James is to move to seize Trump’s golf course and Seven Springs estate in that county to partially satisfy the judgment.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Eric, and his other adult son, Donald Trump Jr., were found liable for fraud at the Trump Organization along with two company executives after a trial in Manhattan Supreme Court. James’s office was the plaintiff in the case.

Last month, Judge Arthur Engoron found that the defendants had fraudulently inflated the stated value of Trump’s assets to increase his purported net worth and obtain more favorable loan terms for Trump Organization properties. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have run their father’s company since he was elected president in 2016.

The elder Trump is responsible for most of the $464 million in disgorgement and interest that Engoron ordered as damages in the case. However, the Trump sons were each ordered to pay $4 million.

Donald Trump asked a mid-level appeal court last week to pause the judgment, with his lawyers saying it has proved “impossible” for him to obtain an appeal bond.

Such a bond would guarantee that the state would receive the judgment if Trump loses his appeal of the case and is otherwise unable to satisfy it.

Trump’s lawyers said that surety companies wanted him to have upwards of $1 billion in cash or equivalents before they would consider underwriting an appeal bond in this case.

The lawyers said in a court filing that the more than 30 companies he approached about obtaining a bond refused to accept real estate as collateral.

If the appeals court does not grant Trump a temporary waiver of the judgment, he could ask the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to give him one. However, it is not clear that Trump would have much success at that level.

Monday is the first day James can begin the process of seizing Trump properties to satisfy the judgment without a court order blocking her from doing so.

Losers in New York civil cases must routinely post an appeal bond or be liable for the judgments against them as they appeal a verdict.

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