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Trump frustrated with pending criminal, civil cases ahead of election


Donald Trump’s famous real estate portfolio and presidential bid remained intact Monday after rulings in separate civil and criminal cases left him with some breathing room.

The former president was against a deadline to put up a $464 million bond in a New York civil trial, but after an appeals court panel stepped in, the amount he’ll have to put up to appeal the ruling against him and his business was slashed to $175 million. Trump said Monday that he plans to comply with the ruling, which requires him to put up a $175 million bond in 10 days.

Trump plans to appeal a ruling by Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron in a civil fraud lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James in 2022.

In an order, the five-judge state appeals court panel said it would give the Trump Organization and top executives 10 days to post a $175 million bond.

Engoron found that Trump, his company and top executives defrauded banks and insurers by inflating the value of his family’s wealth and real estate on financial statements used to secure loans.

Trump had previously lashed out at the judge, James and other Democrats who he blames for his ongoing criminal and civil trials as he seeks to return to the White House in a rematch with President Joe Biden. The civil verdict had threatened both Trump’s cash stockpile, real estate portfolio and his presidential ambitions.

But with a reduced bond amount, Trump has more room to do what he wants with his money. He told reporters Monday that he planned to use at least some of the more than $500 million he has in cash to fund his presidential campaign. However, Trump didn’t answer questions about when he might move money into his campaign accounts.

“I would also like to be able to use some of my cash to get elected,” Trump said at 40 Wall Street on Monday shortly after his court appearance. “They don’t want me to use my cash to get elected. They don’t want that. They don’t want me taking cash out to use it for the campaign.”

When asked specifically when he would be putting money into his campaign, Trump responded, “Well, first of all, it’s none of your business.” He also said he would put money into his campaign, but he didn’t say when or how much of his personal funds he plans to use.

“I might. I might do that. I have the option,” Trump said. “But if I have to spend $500 million on a bond, I wouldn’t have that option. I’d have to start selling things. I don’t have to sell anything.”

Trump also got a slight reprieve on the start of the New York state criminal case where he’s accused of disguising hush money payments to an adult film actress as legal expenses in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Jury selection in the hush money case in New York could begin April 15, a judge ruled Monday, setting the stage for the first of Trump’s four criminal trials to begin ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

In that case, Judge Juan Merchan rejected Trump’s request for a longer delay after a last-minute document dump from prosecutors.

Trump pleaded not guilty in April 2023 to 34 felony counts related to charges he paid off Stormy Daniels through a lawyer before the 2016 presidential election and covered it up as a legal expense before being elected president.

Merchan agreed to a 30-day postponement to allow the documents to be reviewed, setting the date of the trial to April 15.

However, Trump said Monday that he hopes to avoid the trial altogether.

“I don’t know that you’re going to have the trial,” Trump said from 40 Wall Street. “I don’t know how you can have a trial like this in the middle of an election. … I don’t know that you’re going to have it. I think we’re going to get some court rulings.”

Monday’s judgments come as prosecutors in three other criminal cases face challenges bringing Trump to trial ahead of November, but even those cases could be set before election day.

Trump faces 88 felony charges spread across four cases in Florida, Georgia, New York, and Washington.

In a federal case in Florida, Trump has pleaded not guilty to 40 felony counts that allege he kept sensitive military documents, shared them with people who didn’t have security clearance, and tried to get around the government’s attempts to get them back.

In Georgia, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former state Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, on charges they tried to overturn the state results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

In Washington, special counsel Jack Smith’s team of federal prosecutors charged Trump with four federal counts related to contesting the 2020 election and the storming of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. The charges are conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction, and conspiracy against the right to vote and to have one’s vote counted, according to the indictment. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.