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Judge Halts Trump’s Punishment But Not $464 Million Payout

Seth Harald/Reuters
Seth Harald/Reuters

The clock is still ticking on Donald Trump to cough up nearly half a billion dollars for engaging in bank fraud, after an appellate judge refused to halt the New York Attorney General on Wednesday afternoon from demanding payment.

But while Trump will have to pay the massive fine before he can proceed with his appeal, the judge did pause part of the decision—like the punishments suspending the business licenses of the Trumps and prohibiting them from borrowing from New York lenders.

It’s a partial, if not mostly pyrrhic, victory for Trump. But it does little to help the former president in his quest to overturn the massive bank fraud judgment. In fact, if anything, it could provide even more embarrassment for Trump—if he can’t find a lender to give him hundreds of millions of dollars. (Trump’s lawyers suggested in another filing Wednesday that the lending prohibition was the main obstacle to Trump securing the money he needs to pay the $464 million fine and not, say, Trump’s own shaky creditworthiness.)

Hours after a brief hearing with attorneys on Wednesday, Appellate Judge Anil C. Singh issued an interim stay that would temporarily hold off the recently ordered punishment against the Trumps—which yanked away the family’s control of the Trump Organization, barred the former president from borrowing from New York banks, and removed Don Jr. and Eric Trump from corporate executive positions.

However, Singh brushed off the Trumps’ attempts to cut a deal by forking over $100 million in lieu of the massive $464 million judgment, an unconventional arrangement that would have allowed the Trumps to stop the AG from forcefully seizing properties starting in March. The Trumps’ offer tried to get around the state’s requirement that they front nearly 120 percent of the total to stop law enforcement from executing the judgment.

Trump now has mere weeks to scrounge up some $500 million or so to hit the brakes on the judgment while his case is on appeal. He’s seeking to overturn a decision issued on Feb. 16 by New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur F. Engoron that came after an 11-week trial in which Trump and his top lieutenants were found to have lied to banks and insurers about real estate values to obtain loans for a decade.

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