Ny State Is Demanding More Information On Trump's $175 Million Appeal Bond In Civil Fraud Case

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump takes the stage before speaking Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at a rally in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump takes the stage before speaking Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at a rally in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

NEW YORK (AP) — Days after former President Donald Trump posted a $175 million bond to block New York state from imminently collecting on a huge civil fraud judgment, state lawyers Thursday called for more information on the bond’s bona fides.

State Attorney General Letitia James' office filed papers giving Trump's lawyers or the bond underwriter 10 days to “justify” the bond — essentially, to show that the company can make good on it. That could mean disclosing more about the collateral Trump provided.

A hearing was set for April 22.

One of Trump's lawyers, Christopher Kise, said James was trying to provoke a “baseless public quarrel in a desperate effort to regain relevance” after an appeals court last month significantly cut the amount of the bond needed to hold off collection.

“Yet another witch hunt!” Kise wrote in an email.

A message seeking comment was left for the underwriter, Knight Specialty Insurance Co.

The bond, posted Monday, at least temporarily stopped the state from potentially seizing Trump's assets to satisfy the more than $454 million that he owes after losing a lawsuit trial. The case, brought by the Democratic attorney general, alleged that Trump, along with his company and key executives, defrauded bankers and insurers by lying about his wealth.

The ex-president and presumptive Republican nominee denies the claims and is appealing the judgment.

By posting the bond, Trump aimed to stop the clock on enforcement of the judgment during his appeal. But it hasn't gone entirely smoothly.

First, the court system kicked back Monday's filing for more paperwork, including a financial statement from Knight Specialty Insurance. That was filed Thursday, showing that the company has over $539 million in assets and related reinsurer Knight Insurance Co. Ltd. has over $2.1 billion.

Then James' office filed notice that it “takes exception to the sufficiency” of the bond — a move that judgment winners can make to get more information from out-of-state underwriters, in some circumstances.

Knight Specialty Insurance is a Wilmington, Delaware-based part of the Los Angeles-based Knight Insurance Group.

The attorney general's notice doesn't request specific information. But “justifying” generally means demonstrating that the underwriter is financially sound and able to pay the bond amount if the judgment is upheld.

A state appeals court also has held, in an unrelated case, that there needed to be a showing that a bond was “sufficiently collateralized by identifiable assets.”

Knight Insurance Group Chairman Don Hankey told The Associated Press Monday that cash and bonds were used as collateral for Trump’s appellate bond.

Eric Trump, a son of the former president and a top executive in his company, said in a social media post Thursday that the bond was backed entirely by cash.

The attorney general's objection “is just another example of the absurdity and foolishness that have been the underlying theme throughout this circus of a case,” the younger Trump wrote on X, former Twitter.

He and his brother, a fellow Trump Organization executive vice president, Donald Trump Jr. were also defendants in the fraud suit. They were found liable and ordered to pay $4 million apiece.

All told, the judgment against Trump, the sons and other defendants totals more than $467 million, growing daily with interest.


Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak in New York and Brian Slodysko in Washington contributed.