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Trump said he had $400M in cash. Now his lawyers say bond is a struggle.

Two weeks ago, a New York judge ordered Donald Trump to pay a huge penalty of $355 million plus interest — a grand total of more than $450 million — after finding him liable for fraudulently inflating his wealth.

But now that it’s time to produce such an amount, Trump’s legal team is undercutting both his and their own claims about his ability to do so.

In a filing Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers asked for a delay and offered to post a bond of just $100 million rather than the full amount. They called the full amount a “facially absurd” judgment and added that its terms preventing him from obtaining loans “make it impossible to secure and post a complete bond.”

Posting cash or a bond in the full amount is required within 30 days of a judgment to avoid the penalties being enforced while Trump appeals, experts have told The Washington Post.

An appeals judge ruled later Wednesday that Trump will still need to post the full amount but that he can obtain loans; an appeals panel is expected to review the case and issue its own decision March 18.

Before that, Trump’s team also said posting the full amount would “likely” require selling property in ways that would irreparably damage him financially.

“In the absence of a stay on the terms herein outlined, properties would likely need to be sold to raise capital under exigent circumstances,” their filing says, “and there would be no way to recover any property sold following a successful appeal and no means to recover the resulting financial losses from the Attorney General.”

Trump lawyer Christopher Kise added during a hearing Wednesday, “No one, including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Donald Trump, has 500 million laying around.” (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

But in the very same legal proceedings less than a year ago, Trump indicated he had something close to that amount of cash at his disposal.

In an April 2023 deposition, Trump volunteered that he had “substantially in excess of 400 million in cash.”

“Developers usually don’t have cash. They have assets, not cash,” Trump said. “We have, I believe, 400 plus and going up very substantially every month.”

Trump added later that, despite the legal fees he was facing, “I have over 400 — fairly substantially over $400 million in cash. That’s just cash. That’s just cash.”

It’s not clear that Trump’s legal team is saying that he doesn’t actually have the cash, as much as that producing a bond in the full amount is impractical.

It’s also possible that Trump’s cash flow has declined in the intervening months. But he claimed it was increasing significantly as of April 2023.

The Trump legal team’s claims are also at odds with what one of its own members said last week, after the judgment.

Appearing on Fox News, Trump lawyer Alina Habba noted that a bond including the full amount would have to be posted and added that “we will be prepared to do that.”

“Unfortunately, they picked the wrong guy to pick on, in my opinion, because he’s strong, he’s resilient, and he happens to have a lot of cash,” Habba added.

In an appearance on Newsmax, Habba was a little less convincing on that front. Asked if Trump had “that kind of money,” Habba interjected, “Yes.” But when the host finished the question with the clause “sitting around,” Habba offered a more equivocal answer.

“I mean he does — of course he has money,” Habba said. “I mean, he’s a billionaire.”

Trump’s ability to post the full amount has been the subject of plenty of speculation, given that his inflation of his wealth was well established even before New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) brought her lawsuit in 2022.

Over the weekend, The Post’s Jonathan O’Connell, Shayna Jacobs and Josh Dawsey walked through the cash crunch that posting the full amount could cause Trump and the avenues he might have for producing a bond. Trump faces a similar situation over an $83.3 million judgment against him in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case.

James wrote Wednesday that Trump’s request shows his lawyers “all but concede that Mr. Trump has insufficient liquid assets to satisfy the judgment.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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