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Judge wants details on any Trump Organization attempts to secure a bond in its civil fraud case

Judge Arthur Engoron said he wants the company to inform the court-appointed monitor in advance of "any efforts" to get a bond.
Donald Trump
Donald Trump at the White House in 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

The judge who handed down a $464 million judgment against Donald Trump, his company and co-defendants in a civil fraud case has ordered the Trump Organization to keep the court closely informed about any efforts to secure a bond ahead of Monday’s deadline.

New York state Judge Arthur Engoron said Thursday that Trump's company needs to provide details to a court-appointed monitor about attempts to obtain a bond that would stop authorities from collecting on the judgment while it appeals last month's ruling. The monitor, former federal Judge Barbara Jones, is to report regularly to Engoron.

"The Trump Organization shall inform the Monitor, in advance, of any efforts to secure surety bonds," Engoron said in his order, as well as "any personal guarantees made by any of the Defendants," which would include the former president.

The order — part of a larger ruling detailing and expanding the monitor's duties — comes days before the deadline for Trump and his co-defendants to secure a bond that would stop New York Attorney General Letitia James' office from being able to collect on the judgment while they appeal Engoron's ruling.

James is poised to move quickly if she decides to. Her office has already filed the judgment in New York’s Westchester County, which is home to his Seven Springs estate and Trump National Golf Club Westchester. County records show the judgment was entered March 6.

James did not need to take that step in New York County — Manhattan — because that’s where the judgment was executed initially. Trump's properties there include Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street.

Trump-owned building in downtown Manhattan
People walk by a Trump-owned building in downtown Manhattan on Tuesday.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

In a court filing this week, lawyers for Trump said they had been trying to get a bond for weeks but have been unsuccessful.

“Defendants’ ongoing diligent efforts have proven that a bond in the judgment’s full amount is ‘a practical impossibility,’” Trump's attorneys said in their filing, pleading with an appeals court to pause Engoron's judgment without posting a bond while they appeal the award.

It's unclear why Engoron waited until now to ask for the additional information, but the language in his order suggests he wants to make sure the company, which he found had engaged in "persistent" fraud by overinflating assets, does not make any misrepresentations to bond companies.

Thursday's order requires the Trump Organization to tell the court monitor what "financial disclosures are requested or required" by the bond company, "any information provided in response to such requests, any representations made by Trump Organization in connection with such bonds" and "any obligations of the Trump Organization required by the surety."

Representatives for Trump did not immediately comment on Engoron’s order.

An automatic 30-day pause on Engoron's judgment from last month is set to expire Monday, at which point the state attorney general's office would be free to start seizing Trump’s assets unless he posts a bond or an appeals court intervenes.

Courts in New York typically require people or companies to guarantee the entire amount of judgments if they appeal, plus extra cash to account for the 9% annual interest on awards until it's paid. Cash or bonds can be used to secure the full amount.

In their court filing this week, Trump and his co-defendants said he did not have the necessary amount of cash on hand and that the bulk of his assets are in real estate, which the bonding companies have refused to accept as collateral for a bond.

Judge Arthur Engoron.
Judge Arthur Engoron at New York State Supreme Court on Jan. 11.Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

Other aspects of Engoron's order appeared designed to make sure Trump and his co-defendants, including top Trump Organization executives Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, do not try to hide or move assets.

The judge said the company must tell the monitor "at least five business days in advance of cash or other assets outside of the Trust" that totals $5 million or more, "including transfers to any individual defendant." The company also has to tell the monitor in advance if it dissolves or creates any other corporate entities and provide copies monthly of all of its bank accounts.

"Defendants shall not evade the terms of the Monitorship Order by transferring assets, reincorporating existing business entities in other forms or jurisdictions, modifying entity ownership, or any other form of restructuring or change in corporate form," the ruling said.

Engoron first appointed Jones as a monitor for the company in November 2022. In Thursday's order, he extended her role for three years and said her duties will include reviewing the company's internal accounting controls and governance, as well as its financial disclosures. Engoron also directed her to report any activity "that has the effect of circumventing or frustrating" his order.