Trump Posts $91.6 Million Bond for E. Jean Carroll Defamation Case

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Trump Posts $91.6 Million Bond for E. Jean Carroll Defamation Case


Donald J. Trump on Friday posted a $91.6 million bond in a defamation case he recently lost to the writer E. Jean Carroll, staving off a potential legal and financial disaster just days before a deadline to secure the deal.

The bond, provided by an outside insurance company, will prevent Ms. Carroll from collecting the judgment while Mr. Trump appeals.

A federal jury awarded Ms. Carroll $83.3 million in January, and Mr. Trump recently asked that the judgment be paused. The judge presiding over the case, Lewis A. Kaplan, denied Mr. Trump’s request for a preliminary reprieve, putting pressure on Mr. Trump to either come up with the money himself or secure the bond.

With a Monday deadline looming, Mr. Trump posted the bond, which is higher than the $83.3 million judgment because the former president is also responsible for interest.

The bond is a promise from the company offering it — Federal Insurance Company, an arm of the insurance giant Chubb — to cover Mr. Trump’s judgment if he loses his appeal and fails to pay. In exchange, Mr. Trump must pay the company a premium and pledge collateral, including as much cash as possible. The terms of Mr. Trump’s deal have not been publicly disclosed, but bonding companies often charge a fee of anywhere between 1 and 3 percent, and require enough collateral to cover the bond.

In a court filing Friday morning, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, asked Judge Kaplan to approve the bond as “adequate and sufficient” to block Ms. Carroll from collecting the award before Mr. Trump’s appeal is decided.

In a statement, Ms. Habba said she was “highly confident” that an appeals court “will overturn this egregious judgment,” citing “numerous prejudicial errors” made at trial.

A Trump campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, said in a statement that the bond had been filed “in the full amount of the baseless judgment in the Democrat-funded Carroll Witch Hunt, which is being appealed and litigated.”

Ms. Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan, declined to comment on Friday. Ms. Carroll herself called the bond a “stupendous amount,” in a social media post.

“Though the illustrious Robbie Kaplan is strong enough to yank a golden toilet out of the floor at Trump Tower and toss it through the window, this bond saves Robbie the trouble of showing up with U.S. marshals on Monday to do so,” Ms Carroll wrote.

Judge Kaplan, in a brief order Friday, gave Ms. Carroll until 11 a.m. Monday to file any response to the proposed bond, and said that if she had any opposition to its form or amount, the judge would hold a hearing that afternoon on the matter.

The bond in Ms. Carroll’s case removes, at least for now, just one of the many looming threats from Mr. Trump’s legal docket, which also includes four criminal indictments, the first of which is going to trial in about two weeks.

In a separate civil case, Mr. Trump faces a judgment of more than $450 million levied by a New York State judge in a fraud lawsuit brought by Attorney General Letitia James. The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, sided with Ms. James, concluding that Mr. Trump had fraudulently inflated his net worth to reap favorable loan terms and other financial benefits.

Mr. Trump recently asked a state appeals court to accept only a $100 million bond in that case. His lawyers said it would be “impossible” to obtain a bond for the full amount, which is $454 million and counting with interest.

A single appeals court judge turned down his request, but Mr. Trump can try again before a full panel of five appellate court judges.

Unless that panel cuts him a break, Mr. Trump will need to post a bond for the full amount by March 25 — which happens to be the opening day of his first criminal trial. If he fails, Ms. James is expected to move swiftly to collect, seizing the former president’s bank accounts and potentially even some of his New York properties.

Although Mr. Trump estimates his net worth in the billions, much of it stems from the value of his properties. He has more than $350 million in cash and investments he can sell in a hurry, a recent New York Times analysis found, well short of what he owes between the fraud case and the defamation verdict.

The award to Ms. Carroll came in a January trial over how much she should receive in damages for defamatory statements Mr. Trump made about her in 2019 after she accused him of a decades-old rape — and for his continuing attacks on her since, on social media, at news conferences and during the trial itself.

Mr. Trump was found liable, in a separate trial last year, for sexually abusing Ms. Carroll in the mid-1990s and for making a defamatory social media post about her in 2022. The jury in that case awarded Ms. Carroll $5 million, and Mr. Trump later posted about $5.6 million in cash in a court account pending his appeal of that verdict.

Before securing the bond in the second case, Mr. Trump’s lawyers had made an alternative proposal: that Judge Kaplan allow Mr. Trump to post a bond “in a fraction of the amount” of the award. The defense asked for the smaller bond while the judge considered the former president’s request that the verdict be thrown out.

Ms. Carroll’s lawyers had urged the judge to deny Mr. Trump’s request for a stay.

They argued that the former president had not offered any information about his finances or the nature and location of his assets; that he had not specified what portion of his assets were liquid or explained how Ms. Carroll might go about collecting her judgment; and that he had not addressed the risks of the large judgment obtained by Ms. James’s office as well as the many criminal charges Mr. Trump faces “that might end his career as a businessman permanently.”

“He simply asks the court to ‘trust me,’ and offers, in a case with an $83.3 million judgment against him, the court filing equivalent of a paper napkin, signed by the least trustworthy of borrowers,” Ms. Carroll’s lawyers wrote.



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