Skip to content Skip to footer

Trump Avoids Paying Full $454 Million for Now, But Faces April 15 Court Date

Predictably, Trump claimed the new criminal trial date amounted to “election interference” and a “witch hunt.”

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media after a pre-trial hearing at Criminal Court on March 25, 2024, in New York City.

A pair of decisions by two different courts in New York state gave former President Donald Trump mixed outcomes, with one delivering a huge financial lifeline and the other setting up a criminal trial date to commence in a matter of weeks.

Trump was previously found guilty in a civil fraud case in New York stemming from his inflation of his net worth in order to secure loans from banks in the state. The GOP candidate for president is appealing that ruling — however, to do so he had to either put up the entire judgment amount of $454 million or secure a bond for that judgment. Trump, who owns billions of dollars in assets, was unable to do either by a Monday morning deadline, which could have resulted in state Attorney General Letitia James seizing some of his assets later that day.

Trump’s lawyers appealed to a higher court, where a five-judge panel ruled later on Monday that they would accept a lower fee from him while the appeals case is pending. Instead of the $454 million figure, Trump now only owes $175 million to the court. The due date for the payment has also been extended to April 4 — James cannot seize any assets until that date, and only can do so if he again fails to make the payment.

Two sources with knowledge of Trump’s finances told The New York Times that he should have no problem securing the new amount.

The $454 million figure in the case represents the amount Trump saved in interest payments by deceiving banks into giving him better loans, plus the sale of two properties he made that were helped by receiving those loans.

In addition to the financial penalty, the ruling forbade Trump from obtaining any new loans or running any company within the state of New York, including those he owns, for the next three years. An independent monitor was also assigned to oversee any major business operations within the Trump Organization, per that ruling. But the appellate court judgment removed most of those regulations on Trump and his company — only the monitor stipulation remains in place until the appeals process plays out.

In a separate ruling from another New York state-based court on Monday, however, Trump received bad news.

Trump faces criminal charges from the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, stemming from the revelation that he made hush-money payments to adult entertainers he had extramarital affairs with before the 2016 presidential election. Such payments on their own are not illegal under state law — however, Trump has been accused of falsifying his business records in order to make it more difficult to view the payments, which were made to conceal his affairs.

For example, Trump told his former “fixer” lawyer, Michael Cohen, to pay adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep her from divulging an affair she and Trump had in 2006, soon after the birth of his youngest son and just one year after his marriage to former First Lady Melania Trump. The exposure of such an affair during the 2016 election season could have doomed his chances to win that contest against then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Cohen was ordered by Trump to pay Daniels himself, after which the lawyer would be reimbursed by the Trump Organization under the guise of standard attorney fees. Cohen has admitted to the scheme; although several pieces of evidence relating to the payments have been made public, Trump still denies he did anything wrong.

At issue in the case today is whether the start of the trial should be delayed due to Bragg’s office receiving additional evidence from a similar federal investigation into Trump’s actions, which has been dropped. Bragg has stated that a delay is unnecessary because the evidence is minimal.

Judge Juan M. Merchan, who is overseeing the case, sided with Bragg on Monday, noting that Trump’s lawyers’ contention in a previous filing — that Bragg and the judge himself engaged in “prosecutorial misconduct” — was out of line.

“The allegation that the defense makes in all of your papers is incredibly serious. Unbelievably serious. You’re accusing the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the people involved in this case of prosecutorial misconduct and of trying to make me complicit in it. And you don’t have a single cite to support that position,” Merchan said.

Merchan also noted that, while Bragg’s office made it clear that the additional evidence had been received, Trump’s office only asked for a delay recently. Merchan ruled that Bragg was “not at fault for the late production of documents from the U.S. Attorney’s office,” and that Trump’s lawyers didn’t ask for a delay soon enough.

Merchan’s patience with the former president’s lawyers is apparently wearing thin. When Trump lawyer Todd Blanche requested another delay during the hearing on Monday, saying that Trump “should not have to sit for a trial” because of the 2024 presidential election, Merchan responded by simply stating: “See you all on the 15th.”

Predictably, after the hearing — during which the defendant was in attendance — Trump characterized the decision as “election interference” and a “witch hunt” against him. He has also promised to appeal the outcome of the hearing, even though it’s not usual for appeals of trial dates to be successful or even to be entertained by appellate courts.

Trump’s attempt to delay the trial comes as his lawyers have successfully done so in all four of the criminal trials he’s currently facing. His lawyers moved back his trial in Georgia, for example, by citing the fact that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had a relationship with another member of the prosecution team. Federal Judge Aileen Cannon, who Trump appointed while president, is siding with a number of questionable motions by his lawyers in the case regarding his removal of classified documents from the White House after his term expired. The Supreme Court has also indefinitely delayed Trump’s election subversion trial regarding his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential contest based on his dubious claims of presidential immunity. And even though the Manhattan District Attorney’s criminal case now has a trial date, it, too, was delayed, as it was supposed to have begun in March.

Join us in defending the truth before it’s too late

The future of independent journalism is uncertain, and the consequences of losing it are too grave to ignore. To ensure Truthout remains safe, strong, and free, we need to raise $33,000 in the next 2 days. Every dollar raised goes directly toward the costs of producing news you can trust.

Please give what you can — because by supporting us with a tax-deductible donation, you’re not just preserving a source of news, you’re helping to safeguard what’s left of our democracy.