Trump’s Mounting Legal Bills

He owes over half a billion so far. That creates significant conflicts of interest.

AP’s Jake Offenhartz (“Trump’s legal debts top a half-billion dollars. Will he have to pay?“):

Donald Trump’s legal debts might now exceed a half-billion dollars.

A New York judge ordered Trump and his companies Friday to pay $355 million in fines, plus interest, after ruling that he had manipulated his net worth in financial statements.

The stiff penalty comes just weeks after Trump was ordered to pay $83.3 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll for damaging her reputation after she accused him of sexual assault. A separate jury last year awarded Carroll $5 million from Trump for sexual abuse and defamation.

Add interest payments on top of that and the judgments could deal a staggering blow to the personal fortune that remains core to Trump’s political appeal. He has adamantly denied wrongdoing and pledged to appeal, a process that could take months or even years.

In the meantime, here’s what we know about what Trump owes, whether he’ll have to pay up, and what comes next:

How much money does Trump owe now?

The verdict in the civil fraud trial requires Trump to pay interest on some of the deal profits he has been ordered to give up. New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the case, said the interest payments totaled $99 million and would “continue to increase every single day until it is paid.”

Between Friday’s ruling and the two judgments in Carroll’s case, Trump would be on the hook for about $542 million in legal judgments.

Trump owes another $110,000 for refusing to comply with a subpoena in the civil fraud case and $15,000 for repeatedly disparaging the judge’s law clerk in violation of a gag order. As part of Friday’s ruling, the judge also ordered both of Trump’s sons to pay $4 million apiece.

Trump’s court-ordered debts don’t end there. Last month, he was ordered to pay nearly $400,000 in legal fees to The New York Times after suing the newspaper unsuccessfully. He is currently appealing a judgment of $938,000 against him and his attorney for filing what a judge described as a “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.

[…]

How quickly does Trump have to pay?

Trump has already deposited $5 million owed to Carroll for the first defamation case into a court-controlled account, along with an additional $500,000 in interest required by New York law. Carroll will not have access to the funds until the appeals process plays out.

He may soon be forced to do the same for the $83.3 million judgment in the second Carroll verdict. Alternatively, he could secure a bond and pay only a portion up front — though that option would come with interest and fees and likely require some form of collateral. Trump would have to find a financial institution willing to front him the money.

In the civil fraud case, it will be up to the courts to decide how much Trump must put up as he mounts his appeal. And he may be required to pay the full sum immediately after the appellate court rules, which could come as soon as this summer, according to University of Michigan law professor Will Thomas.

“New York’s judicial system has shown a willingness to move quickly on some of these Trump issues,” Thomas said. “When we hear from the first appellate court, that’s a point where money is almost certainly going to change hands.”

Can Trump afford to pay?

Trump has claimed he’s worth over $10 billion. Most estimates, including an assessment by the New York attorney general, put that figure closer to $2 billion.

In his 2021 statement of financial condition, Trump said he had just under $300 million in “cash and cash equivalents.” He has since made a number of sales, including his New York golf course and his Washington, D.C., hotel, and may also soon get a windfall when his social media company, Truth Social, goes public.

But even with those income streams, it’s unclear whether Trump and his family members have enough cash on hand to pay all the money they now owe.

Could he use campaign contributions — or PAC money — to pay?

Federal election law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal use. But the rules are far murkier when it comes to tapping political action committees — or PACs — for a candidate’s expenses.

Over the last two years, Trump’s Save America political action committee, his presidential campaign and his other fundraising organizations have devoted $76.7 million to legal fees. Campaign finance experts expect Trump will try to spend PAC money to defray the cost of his judgments in some way.

“The likelihood of the Federal Election Commission in its current configuration pursuing these violations is not terribly great,” said Daniel Weiner, director of the Brennan Center’s Elections and Government Program.

Vox’s Abdalla Fayyad (“Trump is suddenly in need of a lot of cash. That’s everyone’s problem.“):

Two recent verdicts have now left Donald Trump on the hook for nearly half a billion dollars.

On Friday, a New York judge handed the former president a $355 million penalty, and banned him from serving in a leadership position in any business in New York for three years, for fraudulently inflating his net worth to lenders in order to receive more favorable loan agreements. And in January, a Manhattan jury ordered Trump to pay the writer E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million for defaming her after she accused him of raping her. (A separate jury in May had found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll in the 1990s.)

Together, the damages from these two lawsuits are worth more than the amount of cash Trump claimed to have on hand last April, potentially putting him in a financial bind as he also faces debt repayments and mounting legal fees. Even if he appeals these decisions, as he is expected to do, he still likely will have to front the money while that process runs its course, or secure a bond, which would come with its own conditions.

For a well-connected billionaire, that might usually amount to nothing more than a temporary inconvenience; after all, Trump could always liquidate some of his assets or borrow even more money to cover his short-term obligations.

But Trump isn’t just one of the country’s richest men, with an estimated net worth in the low billions; he’s also running to serve a second term as president of the United States. And for any candidate for public office — let alone the presidency — being cash-strapped while owing such significant amounts of money could be a serious liability.

“It’s pretty scary from an ethics perspective,” said Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel at the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan watchdog group that has chronicled Trump’s abuses of power and filed lawsuits against him.

You don’t have to look far to find the reasons why. Trump’s first term was riddled with conflicts of interest, and that’s in no small part because of his financial well-being (or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it). At the time that he tried to overturn the 2020 election, he was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, largely stemming from loans to help rehabilitate his struggling businesses, and most of which would be coming due over the subsequent four years. Throughout his presidency, he refused to divest from his businesses, which made millions of dollars in revenue from taxpayers and continued to do work with other countries while he was in office — a practice he indicated he would repeat in a second term.

The fact that he has so many entanglements with big businesses and other nations leaves plenty of room for things to go awry. That’s why a 2020 New York Times exposé uncovering his staggering debt during his first term wasn’t just embarrassing for Trump, who has a tendency to claim he’s richer than he actually is. It also raised fears about how his debt could implicate national security.

As the former head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division told Time magazine in 2020, “For a person with access to U.S. classified information to be in massive financial debt is a counterintelligence risk because the debt-holder tends to have leverage over the person, and the leverage may be used to encourage actions, such as disclosure of information or influencing policy, that compromise U.S. national security.”

As Trump campaigns for a second term, his personal finances are becoming increasingly relevant, especially now that he has to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the two civil lawsuits.

And with his criminal cases still looming, things could get even worse for him. His debt “makes him prime for corruption and really exploiting his office for his own personal gain,” Canter said.

[…]

Lawsuits aside, Trump also has plenty of debt on his hands. His financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission last year showed that he has at least $200 million in debt. And according to Forbes, his business owed roughly $1.3 billion in 2021.

That’s not as dire as it sounds, especially because Trump has been steadily paying down the money he owed when he was leaving the White House three years ago. For example, he’s paid off most of the $295 million he owed Deutsche Bank — a major source of his debt. But some of Trump’s debts warrant more scrutiny.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to know exactly how financially stable Trump is at any given moment. While some signs — like his ability to repay some of his debts or, say, him being a very wealthy man with very wealthy friends — indicate that he’s doing just fine, there are still some warning signs for his campaign. Trump has faced a steady stream of hefty legal bills that stem from his four indictments, and that has drained much of his campaign cash. In fact, Trump’s campaign has spent more than $50 million on legal fees in the past year alone. According to the Associated Press, 84 percent of spending from Trump’s Save America political action committee has gone toward covering legal expenses.

Those aren’t exactly the typical spending habits of a normal campaign. But then again, Trump isn’t a normal candidate.

No. No, he’s not.

And, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, I really hadn’t considered the impact of this mounting legal debt—which doesn’t even include fees owed to his attorneys, which I imagine are substantial—on a potential second Trump term, having focused entirely on what it meant for his re-election prospects.

FILED UNDER: 2024 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. mattbernius says:

    And, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, I really hadn’t considered the impact of this mounting legal debt—which doesn’t even include fees owed to his attorneys, which I imagine are substantial—on a potential second Trump term, having focused entirely on what it meant for his re-election prospects.

    There is another thing to consider in this: Trump’s push to make his daughter in law co-chair of the RNC.

    While those funds, in theory, cannot be used for his legal debt–we literally know from these and other judgements that Trump has no problem with creative accounting.

    BTW, remember when the pro-Trump argument was that supporting him, versus Jeb!, was a way to avoid perpetuating political dynasties?

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    @mattbernius:

    While those funds, in theory, cannot be used for his legal debt

    As a practical matter, though, once he gets control those funds can and will be used for whatever purpose Trump dictates. The enforcement authority has been completely nutted by the Republicans and hasn’t enforced anything for a decade or more. It’s a sham and a joke.

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  3. CSK says:

    Well, the GoFundMe account in Trump’s name has already raised over $44,000.

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  4. gVOR10 says:

    He has adamantly denied wrongdoing – AP

    No, he hasn’t. He does deny raping Carroll, but otherwise, including defaming Carroll and his asset valuation practices, his defense never seems to be he didn’t do the deed, just that somehow it’s OK for him.

    Also, too, Trump University and his “charitable” foundation.

    And I wouldn’t worry about the effect on his ethics. “Trump’s ethics” is a category error.

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  5. Kevin says:

    @gVOR10: I think that’s an accurate statement, in the sense of “If I do it, it can’t be wrong.”

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  6. Joe says:

    And now he doesn’t have those documents to sell.

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  7. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Simple: he won’t pay them. He’ll throw screaming fits and the courts will have to garnishee his wages (another presidential first!) and/or seize his property. Watch the melt-down when Trump Tower goes under the auctioneer’s mallet. And he’ll stiff his lawyers, who no doubt are putting sensitive documents in safety deposit boxes for when they have to sue him to see any payment.

    I agree that Lara is going to do whatever she can to push RNC funds to pay dad-in-law’s bills. She’s got a conflict of interest too: any money that the RNC doesn’t provide will have to come from what her husband and his siblings hope to inherit. It’s going to be both ugly and interesting.

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  8. Tony W says:

    One of the major components of a security clearance investigation is if the candidate owes money, particularly large amounts of money. And money owed for, say, a mortgage vs. money owed for a half-dozen court losses is far more suspect.

    There is a zero percent chance that Donald Trump would pass a background check to be a manager at his local Burger King – much less a TS/SCI/Poly level clearance.

    And yet some Americans think he should be the guy in charge of the three-letter agencies protected by those clearances.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    According to the Associated Press, 84 percent of spending from Trump’s Save America political action committee has gone toward covering legal expenses.

    They got it wrong again. It’s the Save Trump’s Ass PAC.

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  10. JKB says:

    Nice summation of The Party’s use of their loyal career government functionaries and local corrupt officials to go after Party enemies.

    Of course, already businesses in NYC are factoring in this new threat. Elon Musk is moving his corporations out of Delaware after the recent decision and no doubt other corporations are looking into that. In a couple years, we’ll hear the whining about declining tax revenues. And Trump could dump his Manhattan real estate holdings, crash the market maybe even some banks in NYC. Urban office space is already on the ropes as employees choose not to enter the commuter hell after proving work from home.

    Democrats have learned their lessons from Putin well. They are following the path taken a century ago by the German Party

    They imported from Russia: the one-party system and the pre-eminence of this party in political life; the paramount position assigned to the secret police; the concentration camps; the administrative execution or imprisonment of all opponents; the extermination of the families of suspects and of exiles; the methods of propaganda; the organization of affiliated parties abroad and their employment for fighting their domestic governments and espionage and sabotage; the use of the diplomatic and consular service for fomenting revolution; and many other things besides.

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  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Oh, sad boy, Trump selling out of New York won’t crash anything. I mean, come on, look at the size of the Manhattan RE market and the paltry value of Trump’s stuff. The other day I won $238 dollars from a slot machine. The casino was not forced to shut down.

    Your Orange Jesus is rich, but he’s not rich enough to matter.

    Then there’s the small fact that any new owner of a Trump property will probably see the value increase once they can shed the Toxic T. He’s part owner of Trump hotel here in Vegas – if he sells out the new owner will be able to add a casino, something your crooked con cult leader is forbidden to do. It’s a great location and Vegas is doing very well lately.

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  12. Jax says:

    Good Lord, somebody mixed the Kool-Aid really strong this morning. 😛 😛

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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    BTW, I do love the fact that you seem to assume the Democratic Party will survive as the only political party of significance. I hope you are correct in implying that the servile, corrupt GOP will disappear. But never fear, if the GOP goes away we Dems will promptly calve off a new party.

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  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Tony W:

    There is a zero percent chance that Donald Trump would pass a background check to be a manager at his local Burger King

    Absolutely correct, but I think you are underselling your point. He literally (literally literally, not figuratively literally) could not get hired to work the counter at Burger King. For crying out loud, it has been found in a court of law that he raped a woman! When making hiring or firing decisions I have what I think of as “The Deposition Test”, in which I imagine how my actions or inactions are going to sound during a deposition. “Mr. MarkedMan, is it true that, knowing this 6′ 1″, 275 pound man was a rapist, you still left him alone on the night shift with my client, a 5′ 2″, 115 lb girl of 16 years?”

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  15. just nutha says:

    @JKB: You forgot the citation for which von Mises essay the quote is from. Sloppy.

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  16. mattbernius says:

    @JKB:
    I note that at no point did you attempt to refute the charges.

    Strange that.

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  17. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    Double dose of bleach maybe?

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  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    He’s part owner of Trump hotel here in Vegas

    Is he though? How much? And how encumbered is that? The NY case is just the latest example of Trump lying about his properties, so there is really no way to determine his actual ownership based on any documents he has filed or anything he says. The only way is to seize it, put it up for auction and see who comes out of the woodwork.

    I’m willing to bet a bottle of Sagamore Spirits Cask Strength Rye Whiskey (gotta support the local guys) that none of Trump’s kids will inherit more than $10M in todays money, once the case is finally settled, 5-7 years after his passing. And any property they inherit will be some horrible white elephant the creditors put zero value on. Hell, considering Don, Eric and Ivanka were executives in Trump’s various shady businesses, they could come out of probate and post-death lawsuits owing money.

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  19. gVOR10 says:

    I read to learn or to be entertained, so I quit reading Jake’s comments. Of late I’ve quit reading relies to Jake.

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  20. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR10: I’m with you 1000 percent. (Although I did have to think for a while about who “Jake” was.) You gain nothing by arguing with the homeless man shouting at the bus stop, no matter how wrong he is.

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  21. @mattbernius: Indeed.

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  22. Scott F. says:

    Trump will sell off his penthouse last, then one of his sycophants (like JKB) will take him in. So, Trump will never live in a refrigerator box under a bridge. Sadly, Trump will avoid paying his true karmic debts, no matter what happens to him.

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  23. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    At Burger King, they’d be more concerned that employee Lardass A. Drumpf would eat more of the product than the store sells.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    On my first two trips to Vegas, I planned what to visit based on how I would move around. The Lardass building, according to all the guides I consulted, had neither a casino, shopping, or any attractions. To this day, I’ve only seen it from outside.

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  25. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    Of course, already businesses in NYC are factoring in this new threat. Elon Musk is moving his corporations out of Delaware after the recent decision and no doubt other corporations are looking into that.

    Where do you think NYC is located? Or Delaware, for that matter?

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  26. Jen says:

    It’s important to highlight, once again, that someone with substantial debt would not be a candidate for a security clearance due to how susceptible they would be to bribery. This process of course is waived for the presidency.

    Anyone who votes for this clown is endangering our country.

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  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I don’t know how much of a stake he has in Trump Vegas. His company manages it, and he’s listed as a part owner. I cannot imagine anyone but a MAGAt staying there – no casino, no shows, no shopping, minimal dining options. It’s not an attractive choice in a city that’s ass-deep in luxury hotels like Wynn or Venetian or the new Fontainebleau.*

    @Kathy:
    The Trump hotel is right across the street from the big mall, but it’s not attached. A new owner could add a casino and perhaps build a pedestrian bridge over to Fashion Show mall. The value of the hotel would probably double.

    *We are required by decree to pronounce it Fountain Blue. Grrr.

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Fountainable. Able to have or be a fountain.

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  29. senyordave says:

    @Tony W: There is a zero percent chance that Donald Trump would pass a background check to be a manager at his local Burger King
    Manager? He wouldn’t pass a background check to flip burgers there (not that there’s anything wrong with flipping burgers at BK, it teaches 17 year olds responsibility). Aside from the obvious fact that there is literally (and I use that term intentionally) no force in the universe that could teach Trump responsibility, even a cursory background check on Trump would raise red flags.

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  30. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Hey, at least they finished it. For years it was like a bluish skeleton right on the Strip.

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  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Trump’s hotel must be doing something right, it has 4.5 stars as an aggregate rating on TripAdvisor. On the other hand, #28 of 25o something hotels indicates that it’s firmly in the lower end of the top quintile, so it probably isn’t up to your standards. At $159/night, it’s clearly nicer than the hotels I usually stay at when I travel, but as Tom Bodette (for Motel 6) noted, my eyes are closed most of the time I’m in my room, so my needs are simple.

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  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: Nice summation of The Party’s use of their loyal career government functionaries and local corrupt officials to go after Party enemies.

    The GOP is little more than an ongoing criminal enterprise. Try whining somewhere else.

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  33. al Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Democrats have learned their lessons from Putin well. They are following the path taken a century ago by the German Party

    You need to check in with Tucker on this Putin fetish you seem to have..

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  34. Matt says:

    @JKB: Hey great to see you posting again. You must of missed the questions I asked a while back so here it is again. I’m really interested in your answers.

    So who are the “deadbeat EU members” that paid up their NATO obligations? How much did they pay up and who are they even paying it to?

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  35. JKB says:

    @mattbernius:

    In this case, the charges were refuted by the testimony of the banks and the fact that no one lost a dime on the deal. The only people who don’ t comprehend how business is done in NYC are the judge and the prosecutors.

    Now we see how the state appeals court understands business or if they fail, the SCOTUS.

    But you have your headlines and talking points

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  36. wr says:

    @Scott F.: “Trump will sell off his penthouse last, then one of his sycophants (like JKB) will take him in. So, Trump will never live in a refrigerator box under a bridge.”

    Sharing a broken-down double-wide in Arkansas is better?

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  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Can you supply any evidence that lying in the ways Trump lied is common practice in New York? Can you explain why you would support a system based on fraud? Can you name a state where businessmen are allowed to routinely lie extravagantly in sworn statements?

    Orange Jesus saying, ‘people tell me,’ or, ‘people come up to me and say,’ are not actual evidence.

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  38. wr says:

    @JKB: “The only people who don’ t comprehend how business is done in NYC are the judge and the prosecutors.”

    Whereas JKB, who has never read a book published after 1930, has a master’s grasp on the intricacy of NYC business practices.

    One of which, by the way, is that committing fraud on a massive scale is a crime.

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  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    For your own mental health you really need to accept the fact that your cult leader just got bent over and reamed out. 88 million because he can’t shut his vile mouth and stop attacking his rape victim. Now 450 million plus because he’s a crook. Learning to accept this now will prepare you psychologically for the guilty verdicts to follow. Half a billion dollars. Oh my!

    Your boy just lost a good quarter of his wealth. And he has a woman judge controlling his every expenditure and business decisions. A woman! Soon he’ll be a convicted criminal. And then, again. And again.

    I’m starting to think if Donnie was hand-picked by God, the Supreme Being runs a lousy HR department.

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  40. DK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Try whining somewhere else.

    No, let him whine here. The MAGA tears taste delicious.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    88 million because he can’t shut his vile mouth and stop attacking his rape victim. Now 450 million plus because he’s a crook.

    Hahahaha. Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up!

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  41. a country lawyer says:

    @JKB: Other than the issue of civil immunity, which the Supreme Court resolved prior to trial, Trump raised no other Federal Constitutional issues, so there is no appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Concerning the State law, the question was not whether Trump paid his loans, but whether he increased his profits by reducing the cost of insurance and credit by fraudulently and unlawfully inflating the value of his properties. That was proven over and over at trial, largely by the testimony of Trump’s own employees and accountants. The New York appellate courts will have no problem with the judgement in this case.

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  42. Matt Bernius says:

    @JKB:

    In this case, the charges were refuted by the testimony of the banks and the fact that no one lost a dime on the deal.

    That’s nice. That also DOESN’T matter the law in question. As @a country lawyer correctly states:

    Concerning the State law, the question was not whether Trump paid his loans, but whether he increased his profits by reducing the cost of insurance and credit by fraudulently and unlawfully inflating the value of his properties. That was proven over and over at trial, largely by the testimony of Trump’s own employees and accountants.

    Also, we should note that the testimony from the banks was also submitted *after* Trump was found civilly liable. They in now way attempted to refute the charges because that time had long past.

    When you actually look at the details, you will find that Trump wasn’t able to mount any viable defense against the charges. Or rather, he and his lawyers chose not to take it seriously and comply during the discovery phase. In basic terms, they fucked around and found out.

    BTW, what does that say about Mr Trump’s leadership and management capabilities?

    But it’s great that you’ve agreed that Trump did what he was charged with. The only think you are upset about is apparently that the law is being actually applied to him.

    BTW, since you brought Russia into this the day after that country successfully killed a major political dissident who was literally railroaded into jail via a sham trial with no judicial review. You know, the same guy they poisoned while Trump was in office. And then beat and arrested people for simply visiting impromptu memorials for that person. And yet, what the US is doing is totally the same.

    I have to think at some point you had perspective about this stuff. But to abandon it in the defense of Donald Trump of all people… that’s got to be difficult to live with.

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  43. Matt Bernius says:

    @JKB:

    In this case, the charges were refuted by the testimony of the banks and the fact that no one lost a dime on the deal.

    Please point out which bank testified to that. Because what I think you are referring to is Deutsche Bank testifying that Trump repaid the loan.

    Your account here misses that if Trump had specified his actual assets versus his imagined ones (and note those “imagined ones include outright misrepresentations of things like the physical sizes of properties”), Trump most likely would have gotten those loans at significantly higher rates, which means that he was defrauding the banks (which is what the letter of the law specifies).

    Again, it’s in the details, which are easily accessible. And yet, you never seem to actually care about them.

    The only people who don’ t comprehend how business is done in NYC are the judge and the prosecutors.

    I’m seriously interested what in your background makes you an authority on how “business is done in NYC?” I mean, other than possibly watching episodes of The Apprentice and coming away thinking that Donald Trump was a master of NYC business?

    Anyway, count down to a link to a Turley article in 5, 4, 3, 2…

    [BTW, I’ve already read it… as I suspect you did to as the entire “no one lost a dime on the deal” was very close to what Turley wrote. As was the this will ruin NYC for Business. And you will note that no where in that article does Turley deny what Trump did. His biggest direct issue was why was Trump charged when others are not. And then goes into a long history of how NYC is a bad environment for people. That’s not the strong defense you are hoping for.]

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  44. senyordave says:

    @JKB: In this case, the charges were refuted by the testimony of the banks and the fact that no one lost a dime on the deal.
    Most likely the insurance companies had lower profits than they would have had if Trump had not committed fraud. As a pricing actuary for insurance companies I can tell you that when people play games with valuation of properties it will definitely lead to lower premiums and therefore lower profits. The “no one lost money on the deal” is factually incorrect. In terms of the concept that no one was harmed, if I go 120 MPH on the Florida Turnpike and don’t cause an accident why should I get a ticket?

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  45. Mister Bluster says:

    @Scott F.:..karmic debts

    karmic debt (whatever that might be) is akin to flat earth geography and the healing power of crystals. It has no basis in fact.

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  46. a country lawyer says:

    @Matt Bernius:”His (Turley) biggest direct issue was why was Trump charged when others are not.”
    Trump was charged because he violated the most basic rule of crookery, keep your mouth shut and don’t broadcast your crime. Not only did he choose to run for the office of President where his finances were certain to be scrutinized, he continued, every time he opened his mouth, to brag about what a great businessman he was, daring a close examination of his business practices.

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  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @a country lawyer: This, times infinity. If he had just remained content with being the medium fish in a large pond, nobody would-a’ cared. But Noooooooooo… He had to be the big fish in the big pond.

    Sometimes, standing in the middle of an intersection waving one’s arms and screaming “HEY! LOOK AT ME!!!!” has adverse consequences. Free speech costs, don’cha know.

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  48. mattbernius says:

    @a country lawyer:
    Completely agree.

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  49. mattbernius says:

    @a country lawyer:
    Completely agree.

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  50. Barry says:

    @mattbernius: James, this is sorta forgivable, since it was clear from the beginning that Trump was using the Presidency to collect vast bribes.

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  51. DrDaveT says:

    “The likelihood of the Federal Election Commission in its current configuration pursuing these violations is not terribly great,” said Daniel Weiner, director of the Brennan Center’s Elections and Government Program.

    I think we’re going to find that the vast majority of the damage of the Trump Years will not be effected by Trump policies or legislation signed by Trump. It will be the gutting of key institutions that implement the checks and balances, starting with SCOTUS at the top and working its way down through the various federal regulatory agencies and commissions. It doesn’t matter what the law says if you’ve eliminated the ability to enforce it (or, worse yet, suborned the final arbiters of what it means).

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  52. Paul L. says:

    I wonder what percent E. Jean Carroll lawyers get from the $83.3 million?
    Judge Lewis A. Kaplan

    Looks at every basic element of due process in a civil case and says “Yeah, we’re going to take the under consideration” i.e ignore it.” requiring Trump’s attorney to pre-vett questions to limit what he says. To limiting the questions they can ask of E. Jean Caroll. Limiting Discovery and just frankly looking at a bunch of inconsistencies that are not allowed to be pointed out in E. Jean Caroll’s story.”

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  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Under NY law, he will have to post the entire sum, plus interest, upfront in order to faciliate the appeal. Roughly $400 million.

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  54. James Joyner says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I saw that yesterday via another source and I must admit that it makes no sense to me. You have to pay the fine in order to contest it? That seems wildly unreasonable offhand.

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  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s intended to protect the interests of the prevailing party by ensuring that the assets are sequestered and that the appellant isn’t funding the appeal with the proceeds of fraud. At this point he’s guilty of fraud, so the assets in question are no longer legally his, and his rights aren’t as broad as they previously were.

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