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26 Mar, 2024 14:17

Republican megadonors rally to save Trump – Reuters

The ex-US president’s campaign has denied that he needed the help of wealthy allies to post a half-billion-dollar bond
Republican megadonors rally to save Trump – Reuters

A number of billionaires sympathetic to Donald Trump chipped in to help the former US president raise a bond of around $500 million as he appeals a potentially ruinous judgment against his companies, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The bond would have covered the former president as he fights back against a $454 million penalty imposed by New York judge Arthur Engoron last month. Although Trump is appealing the ruling, he nevertheless would have had to raise that amount in collateral plus around 20% extra to post the bond, or risk the seizure of his bank accounts and signature Manhattan properties.

Hedge fund founder John Paulson and energy tycoon Harold Hamm helped pull together funds to cover the bond, anonymous sources told Reuters. Another unnamed donor offered $10 million towards the effort, a source said. Neither Paulson nor Hamm responded to requests for comment.

It is unclear how much money either billionaire pledged, although one source said that the full amount had been raised by the end of the weekend. 

The full sum, however, was not needed by Monday as an appeals court ruled that Trump could post a smaller bond of $175 million while challenging Engoron’s judgment. Speaking to reporters in New York that day, the former president said he would “post either the $175 million in cash or bonds or securities or whatever is necessary, very quickly.”

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung denied there was any “coordinated effort” to raise the bond, and told Reuters that the ex-president had “more than enough cash” to pay the judgment in full.

Engoron found Trump guilty of overinflating the value of his properties in order to defraud lenders into handing him larger loans. In coming to this conclusion, Engoron himself appraised Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as being worth $18 million, a figure that Trump claimed is up to 35 times lower than the property’s true worth.  Some real estate experts have cast doubt on the methods used by Engoron to discern his figure.

In a post to his Truth Social platform on Monday, Trump called Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James – who brought the civil case against him – “lunatics and communists.”

“These Radical Left Lunatics and Communists ask me to pay a ridiculous and completely unheard of fine of over $450,000,000 only because they saw a similar amount in my bank account,” the former president claimed. “I had intended to use much of that hard earned money on running for President. They don’t want me to do that — ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”

Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge President Joe Biden in November’s election. Although most recent opinion polls show Trump with a slight lead on Biden, he faces multiple high-profile legal challenges, and any financial judgments against him will eat into money that could be used on campaigning. Earlier this month, Trump was forced to raise a bond of $91.6 million as he appeals a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll. 

In addition to these civil cases, Trump is facing federal charges over his alleged mishandling of classified government documents and his alleged involvement in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. He also faces state-level charges over alleged election interference in Georgia and so-called “hush-money” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in New York. 

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