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Trump posts $91M bond while appealing E. Jean Carroll defamation judgment

NEW YORK — Donald Trump on Friday secured a bond for more than $91 million to cover the defamation judgment he owes writer E. Jean Carroll, clearing the way for him to appeal that verdict even as he tries to secure a much larger bond for a separate business fraud judgment due this month.

A document was posted in federal court memorializing Trump’s agreement with Chubb, the insurance giant that underwrote the bond to cover the $83.3 million in damages that a jury awarded to Carroll in January for defaming her in 2019, when he was president, after she accused him of long-ago sexual assault. Trump also filed a notice saying he will appeal the judgment against him.

Trump, who is seeking a second term in the White House and is the likely Republican nominee to challenge President Biden, had faced a Monday deadline to post the bond. He also is expected to come up with more than $450 million later to cover the judgment in the fraud lawsuit against him and his namesake company, a staggering amount that Trump’s lawyers have said could force him to sell some properties.

Trump is appealing the larger judgment, as well, and is seeking to delay the deadline for paying it. An appeals panel is expected to review his request for a delay and issue a decision on March 18.

In the lawsuit brought by Carroll, the bond Trump posted still has to be approved by the judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. Once it’s signed by the judge, the bond will prohibit Carroll’s attorneys from collecting from Trump while the appeal process plays out. It was not clear from court records what collateral Trump presented to obtain the bond from Chubb.

On Friday, shortly after the documents were filed, Kaplan gave Carroll’s attorneys until Monday at 11 a.m. to oppose the bond or aspects of it if they chose to. The judge said he would hear arguments later that day if necessary.

The bond amount proposed by Trump is higher than the judgment because courts tend to require an additional amount be set aside.

The separate $450 million judgment against Trump came in a civil business fraud lawsuit brought against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

In that case, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron found that Trump, his company, and several current and former executives purposely deceived banks and insurance companies, committing illegal acts to increase profits and savings.

A New York appeals court judge last week denied Trump’s request to stay enforcement of the judgment, requiring Trump to post a bond or risk having his assets seized. That judge also denied a request by Trump’s lawyers to reduce the amount he’d need to post to $100 million. A bond for that amount had been secured by Trump heading into those arguments.

A full panel will evaluate Trump’s requests, but not before the expiration of a one-month grace period that James’s office agreed to, allowing the defense time to line up financing of a bond. The attorney general could have immediately taken steps to enforce the massive judgment by moving to take possession of Trump’s assets.

Trump also faces four indictments — 91 criminal counts — for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attempt by a mob of his supporters to block the peaceful transfer of power by taking over the U.S. Capitol; for allegedly storing classified government records at his Mar-a-Lago home after being asked to return them; for alleged efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss in Georgia; and for allegedly falsifying records to cover up the nature of a payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels before the presidential election in 2016.

He is scheduled to stand trial in the case involving the payment to Daniels in New York state court beginning this month, a proceeding that is expected to last into May.

Carroll has sued Trump twice in connection with what she says was a forced sexual encounter in the mid-1990s and disparaging comments he made about her. Trump adamantly denies any encounter.

Trump has already posted more than $5 million in cash with the court from a separate lawsuit Carroll brought for sexual assault and defamation.

The bond document establishes a deal Trump made with Federal Insurance Company, a direct subsidiary of the international insurance behemoth Chubb, with global headquarters in Switzerland. The company, one of the largest insurance firms in the world and worth about $100 billion, offers a wide variety of insurance and bonds.

A Chubb spokesman declined to comment.

The company’s filings do not break down in detail its business that backs court appeals, but the larger unit — called a “surety” business — consists of several entities and is a longtime provider of bonds in the United States, according to bonding experts.

Trump has a history with Chubb, which has provided him insurance policies in the past — dealings that came under scrutiny in the civil case brought by James.

James alleged that in 2010, Chubb sent an insurance appraiser to determine the worth of Trump’s triplex penthouse apartment at Trump Tower, but that Trump rushed the expert out of the premises within 15 minutes before the assessor could take any measurements.

The Chubb appraiser was also not allowed to see the primary bedroom because he was told that Melania Trump was sleeping. Trump later falsely tripled the size of the 11,000-square-foot apartment, using that false measure to drastically inflate his worth by overvaluing that property and others.

Chubb chief executive Evan Greenberg condemned efforts to keep Trump in power after the Jan. 6 insurrection. The insurance executive said in a statement the day afterward that false election claims threatened democracy, citing “the violence and display of demagoguery we witnessed in our nation’s capital yesterday.”

“We should all hope for a new era of respect and decency as we meet the many common challenges facing our nation,” Greenberg said.

O’Connell reported from Washington. Mark Berman in Washington contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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