Judge in Trump fraud case denies bid to pause $354 million judgment


The judge who ordered former President Donald Trump to pay $354 million in fines, and nearly $100 million in interest, in his civil fraud case in New York denied a request from Trump’s lawyers to delay formalizing his decision.

In an email to Trump’s legal team and lawyers from the New York Attorney General’s Office on Thursday, Judge Arthur Engoron of the New York State Supreme Court said he would sign a judgment proposed by the state that finalizes his ruling.

“You have failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay,” he wrote, addressing Trump attorney Clifford Robert. “I am confident that the Appellate Division will protect your appellate rights.”

Last Friday, Engoron ruled that Trump and the Trump Organization must pay a total of $453.5 million in fines and interest for orchestrating a decade-long scheme to inflate the value of assets to obtain more favorable loan and insurance terms.

He barred them from seeking loans from financial institutions in New York for three years, and said an independent monitor would oversee the company for the same amount of time. Trump is also banned from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation for three years. The decision included a variety of fines and sanctions for several other defendants, including Trump’s two eldest sons.

Trump has vowed to appeal the ruling, and has harshly criticized Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleging they pursued the civil case for political reasons.

On Tuesday, the attorney general’s office proposed a judgment that laid out the penalties included in Engoron’s order. Robert, Trump’s attorney, objected to the proposal, writing in a letter to Engoron that it was an “improper, unilateral submission” that “fails to provide any notice whatsoever, thereby depriving Defendants of the opportunity to be heard before judgment is entered.”

Trump’s lawyers asked Engoron on Wednesday to postpone enforcement of the judgment for 30 days, arguing in a separate letter that the delay would “allow for an orderly post-Judgment process, particularly given the magnitude of Judgment.”

Engoron replied over email that the proposed judgment “accurately reflects the spirit and letter of the February 16 Decision and Order,” and said he “intend[s] to sign the proposed judgment this morning and to send it to the Clerk for further processing.”

Robert made one final plea Thursday morning, saying “there is no exigency or potential prejudice to the attorney general from a brief stay of enforcement of the Judgment,” while the “prejudice to the defendants is considerable.”

The judge said Trump’s attorney had “failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay,” denying his request to pause enforcement of his ruling.

In order to appeal the judge’s decision, Trump would need to post a bond covering the $354 million in penalties, according to John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor and an expert on corporate governance and white collar crime.

“That will be costly,” Coffee told CBS MoneyWatch when the decision came down last week. “Some banks will post the bond for him, for a hefty fee, but they will want security that they can liquidate easily, and that may require some sale of some of his assets.”

In an interview earlier this week, James told ABC News that if Trump does not have the funds to pay the $354 million penalty, she is prepared to ask a judge to “seize his assets.”

“We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers,” James said.

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