Trump Faces Mounting Legal Debts Surpassing Half a Billion Dollars: Uncertain Prospects for Repayment

TOPSHOT - Former US President and 2024 presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a "Get Out the Vote" rally in Waterford Township, Michigan, on February 17, 2024. The state's primary election is set to take place on February 27.

A New York judge fined Trump and his firms $355 million in fines and interest for manipulating his net worth in financial filings.

Trump risks a large fine after being sentenced to pay $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll for hurting her reputation after her sexual assault accusation. Another jury awarded Carroll $5 million from Trump for sexual abuse and slander last year.

The decisions might also affect Trump’s personal fortune, which is vital to his political appeal, when interest payments are considered.

He adamantly denied misconduct and vowed to appeal, which might take months or years. The latest on Trump’s debts, whether he must pay them, and what to expect:

The civil fraud trial ordered Trump to pay interest on part of the deal proceeds he was ordered to renounce.

The complaint was launched by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who said the interest payments totaled $99 million and will rise everyday until satisfied.Trump would owe $542 million after Friday’s finding and Carroll’s two judgments.

Trump faces additional fines of $110,000 for failing to comply with a civil fraud subpoena and $15,000 for insulting statements about the judge’s law clerk despite a gag order. In Friday’s verdict, the judge ordered both Trump sons to pay $4 million.

Trump has further financial commitments from the court. After an unsuccessful lawsuit against The New York Times, he was ordered to pay roughly $400,000 in legal fees the month before.

He is appealing a $938,000 judgment against him and his counsel for pursuing a “frivolous” lawsuit against Hillary Clinton. On appeals, huge judgments are often reduced.

The Trump civil fraud appeal will begin in an intermediate court. Trump may appeal the case to New York’s highest appellate court if the verdict is unfavorable, but legal analysts doubt it.

Trump has paid Carroll $5 million for the first defamation action into a court-controlled account and $500,000 in interest required under New York law. Carroll cannot withdraw funds until the appeals procedure is complete.

He may have to do the same for the $83.3 million second Carroll verdict soon. He can also post a bond and pay a portion ahead. This option requires interest, fees, and maybe collateral. Trump must find a financial institution prepared to fund him.

The courts will decide Trump’s appeal fee in the civil fraud case. According to University of Michigan legal professor Will Thomas, the full amount may need to be paid promptly after the appellate court rules, likely this summer.

“The judicial system in New York has demonstrated a readiness to address some of these Trump-related matters promptly,” he said. First appellate court decisions typically lead to financial transactions.

Discrepancies in Trump’s Wealth Claims Raise Questions About Financial Situation

WATERFORD, MICHIGAN – FEBRUARY 17: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally on February 17, 2024 in Waterford, Michigan.


Trump says his wealth tops $10 billion. Some estimates put the amount closer to $2 billion, including the New York attorney general’s.

Trump’s 2021 financial statement showed approximately $300 million in “cash and cash equivalents.” When Truth Social goes public, he might make a lot of money. He recently sold his New York golf course and Washington, D.C., hotel.

Trump and his family may not have enough money to pay their bills despite having various income streams.

Using campaign funds for personal expenses is illegal under federal law. When obtaining PAC funding to meet a candidate’s costs, the standards become less apparent.

Trump’s Save America PAC, presidential campaign, and other fundraising groups have spent $76.7 million on legal expenses in the past two years. Campaign finance experts expect Trump to use PAC funding to pay for his legal verdicts.

“The chances of the Federal Election Commission in its current state taking action on these violations are not very high,” said Brennan Center Elections and Government Program director Daniel Weiner.

The judge ruled Friday that Trump would be liable even if the Trump Organization declares bankruptcy. President Trump’s bankruptcy would temporarily stop the judgment. Political observers say such a large measure is unlikely.

Trump has boasted about never going bankrupt, even though some of his businesses have struggled.

Trump would have his assets taken and earnings garnished like any American who refuses to pay a lawful judgment.

“The president is not a monarch, and the president’s assets are not untouchable just because he held the position of president,” Weiner said.

A court in Trump’s civil fraud lawsuit appointed an extra monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s finances on Friday because they were untrustworthy to comply with the law. If Trump refuses payments, the courts may pursue him and his businesses more.

“They wield significant influence, especially for someone like Trump, who has investments within the state,” said law professor Thomas. “The court could potentially freeze your bank account.” Or worse, “We’re seizing Trump Tower and putting it up for sale.”

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