New Questions Undercut Trump’s $175 Million Bond In Letitia James’ Fraud Case

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For some, questions still linger around the $175 million bond that Donald Trump recently posted amid a civil fraud case originating with New York state Attorney General Letitia James that successfully alleged a years-long pattern of business malfeasance. The bond was meant to delay collections on the full financial penalties imposed on Trump, which neared half a billion dollars when including interest.

A new filing from a bond company with which Trump partnered points to an account in which, per reported terms of their arrangement, a Trump financial trust is “obligated to maintain no less than $175 million in cash or cash equivalents at all times.”

Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann raised an interesting question in response to these developments. If Trump just has the money that would cover the full bond, then what’s the use of entering into a bond agreement with a third party, which would presumably come with additional financial burdens atop the underlying cost of the bond?

“Something’s fishy here. If Trump has $175M free and clear, why not just directly post it and not pay a fee for a surety bond? And the agreement does not give Knight a lien on the account as collateral and seems to afford Trump a two-day window to dissipate the account,” Weissmann wrote on social media. “I suspect he does not have the Schwab cash account money free and clear (Ie it’s used to secure other debt) and so he can’t post it. And it is also unavailable then as true collateral for the surety bond.”

There’s apparently still a forthcoming hearing amid the evolving, post-trial fraud case at which some of authorities’ own questions about the bond will be heard. The scheduled date is April 22, and it’s before Judge Arthur Engoron — the same New York judge who handled the trial and imposed the large penalties. It was an appeals court in New York that let Trump post a bond below the full penalty amount, spurring outrage at Trump’s allegedly uniquely favorable treatment in some corners.