Trump must set aside $5.55 million dollars for E. Jean Carroll while he appeals her successful defamation verdict.
On Friday, he made the unusual move of asking the court to hold the money as cash, rather than as a bond.
Surety experts say the move saves Trump the price of a bond premium: just $55,000.
In an unusual move that saves him just $55,500, Donald Trump has asked a federal judge in Manhattan to allow the $5 million he owes writer E. Jean Carroll to be held aside as cash, and not as a bond, while he appeals her May sex abuse and defamation trial victory.
It’s a highly uncommon move, surety experts told Insider, noting that the only real benefit to going cash is the savings of a 1% bond premium.
“The only thing I could see as a reason for this is they don’t want to spend the extra $55,000” to pay for the bond, said Mike Lapre, a senior vice president in the surety division of NFP, a global property and casualty broker.
“I guarantee there are companies that would write this bond for him,” Lapre said. He noted that should the appeal drag out a year, the one-percent bond premium would have to be renewed, bringing Trump’s cost to $110,000.
“He may just be trying to save a little money that way,” Lapre told Insider.
Trump attorney Joe Tacopina filed the request Friday with US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over the defamation and sexual assault trial.
His law firm, Tacopina Seigel & DeOreo, is currently holding the $5,550,000 in trust, “which is 111% of the judgment amount and is consistent with the traditional security percentage of supersedeas bonds,” Tacopina wrote the judge, using the legal name for appeal bonds.
His firm is prepared to “promptly” transfer that money to the court once the judge approves the cash-not-bond arrangement, he wrote.
Tacopina did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Carroll attorney Roberta Kaplan, who signed onto a proposed order for the judge to sign, allowing the arrangement, declined to comment.
Under the proposed order, the court would set up an interest-bearing account to hold Trump’s $5.55 million.
Once Trump’s appeals have been exhausted, Carroll would collect from the court whatever the former president then owes her.
That amount could be nothing if Trump wins an outright reversal of the judgment, or less than $5 million if an appeals court reduces the judgment.
And it could be more than $5 million if an appeals court upholds the judgment and the sum has grown by whatever interest Trump must pay based on the duration of the appeal. Carroll would additionally be entitled to whatever interest the interest-bearing account has accrued.
It’s unclear when the judge would rule on the request.
“You’re not talking a lot of money,” New York City bondsman Ira Judelson agreed of the premium Trump would avoid.
Trump may also be seeking to avoid having a bond on his books as a potential credit liability, said Judelson, whose criminal-court clients have included former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, NFL star Plaxico Burress and Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor.
Lapre said he doubted that fear of credit liability would be a factor in Trump deciding to forgo a bond, as Trump has the cash on hand, and wouldn’t need to use property as collateral.
In any event, the judge could still nix the deal, Lapre said.
Courts prefer a bond, and typically don’t want to handle the paperwork of setting up an interest-bearing account that would hold the money for the duration of any appeals, he said.
Trump can be notoriously tight-fisted when it comes to penalties he’s faced in court. In January, he paid his lawyers to file some 1,000 pages in briefs to fight a $130,000 contempt-of-court order.
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