Trump claims he may need ‘fire sale’ to pay $464mn fraud judgement

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Donald Trump has said in a long tirade on social media that he might need to sell his assets to postpone enforcement of a $464mn fraud judgment, after his lawyers declared they could not find a company to help him secure a massive bond.

In nearly a dozen posts on Truth Social, Trump railed from Monday night through to Tuesday morning against Judge Arthur Engoron and New York attorney-general Letitia James, lambasting those who brought the case that threatens his business empire. 

“Nobody has ever heard of anything like this before,” wrote Trump in one post. “I would be forced to mortgage or sell Great Assets, perhaps at Fire Sale prices, and if and when I win the Appeal, they would be gone. Does that make sense? WITCH HUNT. ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”

Trump said that a bond of such magnitude was “practically impossible for ANY Company, including one as successful as mine”, and that the “Witch Hunt” against him was an attempt to prevent him from winning back the White House.

He also said that the verdict would hurt the New York economy, writing, “Existing businesses will flee!!!”

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The former president and his businesses were found liable in January for committing “blatant” fraud by vastly inflating the value of core real estate assets such as Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida residence, and 40 Wall Street in loan applications. The judgment, which exceeds $464mn with interest, can be collected by the New York attorney-general unless Trump posts a bond for the full amount while he appeals.

Trump’s legal team said on Monday that the Trump Organization had approached 30 surety companies — including Allianz, Axa, Berkshire Hathaway, Chubb, Munich Re, Swiss Re and Zurich — via four separate brokers, to no avail.

One of the largest penalties imposed on a New York corporation, the judgment has ballooned the former president’s legal costs, which he is struggling to cover while mounting a campaign for the presidency in November’s election.

As Trump has pleaded for an extension, James has hinted at seizing his assets, specifically mentioning 40 Wall Street, a tower that Trump has called a crown jewel of his real estate empire. 

Additional reporting by Joe Miller and Joshua Chaffin in New York

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