What happens if Trump cannot post a $454 million bond by Monday?

Time is running short for former President Donald Trump who has until Monday to arrange a $454 million bond to comply with a New York court judgment in a civil fraud case.

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In a court filing earlier this week, Trump’s lawyers told a judge that he was having trouble coming up with the collateral needed to secure a bond for the judgment, despite having gone to 30 companies for help.

Trump, who appealed the ruling in a fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, says the fines are excessive and that the judge made errors in the trial that paved the way for an appeal of the original nearly $355 million judgment. The size of the judgment grew to $454 million with interest.

Trump has appealed to donors for funds, and as of Friday, he said he had $500 million that he had planned to use for his presidential campaign that he may divert to this appeals bond.

Why does he need the money, how can he get it and what happens if he doesn’t? Here’s what we know now.

How did Trump get here?

Trump, his company and his adult sons were accused of fraudulently inflating the value of his golf clubs, office buildings and other properties to the tune of about $2 billion.

According to James, Trump exaggerated the property values to obtain favorable loan terms from banks and insurers.

On Feb. 16, Judge Arthur F. Engoron ruled that Trump had committed fraud and ordered him to pay $355 million.

What happened after the verdict?

Trump’s attorneys announced that he would appeal the judgment. Within days, an appeal was filed.

The appeals court has not yet issued a ruling.

Why does Trump have to pay to appeal the case?

The money Trump is trying to get is not to pay to appeal the case.

According to New York law, cash he could come up with or the bond he is trying to get would keep James from collecting any money or property while the appeals process moves forward.

Trump owes the money from the judgment plus interest -- $454 million -- unless the judgment is overturned on appeal.

What is an appeals bond?

An appeals bond happens when a bond company promises to pay the judgment – $454 million in Trump’s case – if Trump were to lose his appeal and then fail to pay the judgment.

Is an appeals bond hard to get?

An appeals bond for this amount is hard to get. Thirty companies have turned Trump down, according to court filings from his attorneys.

For Trump to get that large of a bond, he would need to pledge around $557 million, his lawyers say. Those funds would have to be in cash and/or stocks and bonds.

According to his attorneys, underwriters have insisted on cash, stocks or other liquid assets instead of real estate as collateral and wanted 120% of the judgment, or more than $557 million, The Associated Press reported. Trump’s company would still need to have cash left over to run the business, his attorneys have said.

Does he have the cash and/or stocks and bonds to get the bond?

Forbes estimates the presumptive Republican nominee has around $350 million in cash as well as stocks and bonds. He would need another $207 million to secure the bond. That would take all of Trump’s cash, stocks and bonds, leaving nothing to run his companies or pay any bills.

The bulk of Trump’s wealth is in real estate holdings, not cash. According to Forbes, Trump is worth $2.6 billion, with $1.7 billion coming from real estate holdings.

In addition, Trump posted a $91.6 million appeals bond in a case where writer E. Jean Carroll accused him of raping her in a department store. A jury found Trump liable in 2023 for sexually abusing her. The jury awarded her $5 million in a judgment.

Carroll was awarded another $83.3 million in January in a defamation award stemming from comments Trump made about her in 2019 while he was president.

He posted the appeals bond in the case.

On Friday, Trump announced on his social media platform Truth Social that he has $500 million ready to be used on the bond and asked supporters to help him get the rest needed.

Also on Friday, The New York Times reported that Trump’s social media company, Trump Media & Technology Group, completed a merger with a cash-rich shell company, that would put an estimated $3 billion in Trump’s pocket – at least on paper.

Trump Media will debut with a market value of more than $5 billion, giving Trump more than $3 billion for his share of the company.

Trump Media said in a statement before the vote that “the merger will enable Truth Social to enhance and expand our platform,” the Times reported.

What about using campaign money?

Trump likely cannot use campaign donations to help with the bill. That would violate campaign finance rules.

Trump’s campaign on Wednesday called for donations from one million of his backers, warning he could lose his New York properties if he doesn’t raise the money needed to secure a bond.

According to Reuters, it is unclear if Trump could use the funds to pay for the judgment. Trump has been able to use donor money to pay some of his lawyers’ fees, saying his legal defense is campaign-related.

Campaign finance laws prohibit the use of campaign money for personal expenses. Trump did not say in the appeal for donations that the money would be used to pay for a bond.

At what time does Trump have to post a bond on Monday?

There is no set time a bond must be posted on Monday.

While James could have moved to collect the $454 million immediately after the ruling, the attorney general’s office offered a 30-day grace period for Trump to get the money together. That period ends on Monday.

So, what happens if the appeals court doesn’t rule in his favor by Monday and he can’t secure a bond?

Trump could do a few things if the appeals court does not rule in his favor.

First, he could file an appeal with the New York Supreme Court. If the supreme court refuses to hear the case or rules against Trump, he could sell one of his properties or other assets to pay for the judgment.

He could try to get a loan from a bank, or he could ask a wealthy friend to help out.

Or, he could file for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy filing would automatically halt the judgment against the properties he owns.

How could the state collect?

If all of those options fail and Trump misses Monday’s deadline, James has said she will go after the former president’s money and properties.

According to CNN, James has taken the initial steps to seize Trump’s assets.

She could freeze his bank assets and begin the process of seizing some of the properties involved in the case. One of those properties is 40 Wall Street, a building that sits across the street from James’ office.

She could also place a lien on a property

Seizing property is not done quickly. Ownership of the buildings, debts they may have attached to them and other factors must be dealt with through the courts.