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Trump faces Monday deadline to come up with $454 million big ones

The eye-popping judgment against former President Trump in his New York fraud case has laid bare his precarious financial status, a matter that has sent the notoriously incensed real estate mogul off the rails.

In Truth Social posts, Trump has laid out mini diatribes lambasting the judge and attorney general in the case, claiming they want to swindle him out of precisely the amount of cash he has on hand to the tune of half a billion dollars. 

Trump is known for his online rants and raucous rallies that frequently whip up his base, but the $454 million bond he must pay – or face the possibility of his assets being seized – appears to have sent the former president over the edge. 

“They do not care about the Law, the facts, or anything, but tying up my money, and interfering in the Election!!” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post on Wednesday. “This case should be OVER, but instead, the Attorney General wants to abuse her power to steal my money!!” 

Former aides said Trump appears to be particularly incensed by the New York fraud trial because of how personal the stakes are.  

The case’s core allegations threatened several areas Trump takes particular pride in. It struck at the heart of his reputation as a savvy dealmaker and wealthy businessman, which helped propel him into a successful run for the White House in 2016. 

“It has to do with his business and his family and his brand,” said one former Trump White House official.

The trial and its aftermath has also enveloped his adult children, specifically Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who serve as executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization. The brothers were ordered to pay more than $4.6 million each and were barred for two years from serving in top leadership roles for any New York company.  

Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, was once a party in the case but a state appeals court dismissed her from it before the trial began, citing a lapsed statute of limitations. She still testified at trial, giving a subdued account of her role in the business.  

The trial also pitted Trump against his longtime fixer Michael Cohen, who has in recent years established himself as an outspoken critic of the former president. Cohen testified that Trump ordered him and another top executive to “reverse-engineer” his assets to reach a number he liked. Trump’s lawyers have called Cohen a “proven liar.” 

And, the case took place in New York City, where Trump grew up and built his brand in the real estate business but also a place he had struggled to earn respect.

“New York – that’s where he’s been making his mark,” said Bennett Gershman, a law professor at Pace University. “He’s tried very hard to become part of the New York establishment…and he feels, perhaps, that he’s never really made it big in New York.” 

“It is a confluence of factors here that make this case and make New York and Trump all come together in a very dramatic way,” he added.  

During two months of trial in Trump’s hometown, some 40 witnesses in the former president’s business orbit took the stand to assess whether his business engaged in deceitful business practices across more than a decade.  

Though not required, Trump attended the trial in person numerous times, sometimes for several days in a row. 

From its start, the trial was defined by Trump’s fury – his anger toward New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) for bringing the case and Judge Arthur Engoron for allowing it to move forward.  

The tension was encapsulated in stern glares and sometimes heated arguments between the parties and Engoron that often veered political, with Trump suggesting the judge should be “charged criminally” for his role in perpetuating “election interference.” 

Engoron found Trump, the Trump Organization and top executives liable for fraud before the trial began, and, at the trial’s end, determined they conspired to alter the former president’s net worth for tax and insurance benefits. 

The judge ordered them to pay a penalty of $464 million, plus interest – more than 95 percent of which Trump alone owes. Trump, like his sons, was also barred from serving in top leadership roles for any New York company for three years.  

His anger has already spilled into his appeal of the ruling, including his suggestion that the judgment amount was determined on purpose due to the cash on hand he claims to have.

“I currently have almost five hundred million dollars in cash… The often overturned political hack judge on the rigged and corrupt A.G. case, where I have done nothing wrong, knew this, wanted to take it away from me, and that’s where and why he came up with the shocking number which, coupled with his crazy interest demand, is approximately $454,000,000,” Trump wrote in all caps on Truth Social Friday morning.

Earlier this month, Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee for president, setting the stage for a rematch with President Biden. 

His campaign has been transformed into an outlet for his grievances over the case, as well. It frequently sends out fundraising emails seeking to capitalize on the case, including one Thursday that included the subject line “Keep your filthy hands off Trump Tower.” 

During a recent rally in Michigan, Trump blasted the initial ruling that he pay hundreds of millions of dollars as a “lawless and unconstitutional atrocity that sets fire to our laws like no one has ever seen in this country before.” 

And during a rally in Ohio on Saturday, Trump suggested his own legal troubles could be bad for New York state. 

“A lot of people want to leave because of the lawfare that’s going,” Trump told supporters. “A lot of companies are leaving because they don’t want to get caught up into the crap that I got caught up into, where they go after you for no reason whatsoever, no victim, no this, no that.” 

His campaign funds helped mount a legal defense in the fraud case, in addition to the four criminal cases he also faces. Trump’s fundraising committees doled out roughly $50 million on legal consulting in 2023. His fraud trial lawyers – Chris Kise, Alina Habba and Clifford Robert – were among the highest paid. 

However, campaign donations can’t help him front the cost of the multimillion-dollar judgment he now faces.

If Trump does not post his bond before Monday, James can begin seizing his assets, which include iconic New York properties like 40 Wall Street and Trump Tower.  

This past week, the state took the first step toward seizing Trump’s Seven Springs golf resort and private estate by filing judgments in the county where it’s located. Judgments have already been filed in Manhattan, where the trial was held. 

Trump’s lawyers told the appeals court that the former president can’t secure a full appeals bond due to lack of cash on hand. He asked the court to accept a $100 million bond, instead – less than a quarter of what he owes.  

However, on Friday, Trump posted to Truth Social that through “hard work, talent and luck” he has nearly $500 million in cash on hand, a statement that could hinder his request for a less costly bond.  

“He doesn’t want to pay, and he’s looking for protection from the court,” Gershman said. “He says he doesn’t have the money. He says nobody will give him a bond.  

“That might be true; people wouldn’t want to give him a bond because they don’t trust him,” he continued. “Why should they trust him?” 

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