Judge Denies Trump’s Request for Stay in Fraud Judgment

Defendants argued that the court-appointed monitorship remains in effect while defending the request for a stay.
Judge Denies Trump’s Request for Stay in Fraud Judgment
Former President Donald Trump sits in New York State Supreme Court during the civil fraud trial against The Trump Organization, on Jan. 11, 2024. (Peter Foley/AFP via Getty Images)
Catherine Yang

New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has denied former President Donald Trump’s request for a 30-day stay of judgment after defense attorneys protested the attorney general’s “rush” for enforcement.

“I intend to sign the proposed judgment this morning,” Justice Engoron wrote in a Feb. 22 email. The judgment has already been delivered to the county clerk, according to the docket.

Responding to a request for a stay, he added: “You have failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay. I am confident that the Appellate Division will protect your appellate rights.”

On Feb. 16, Justice Engoron issued his verdict in the multimillion-dollar civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against President Trump and The Trump Organization. Days later, attorney Colleen Faherty submitted a proposed judgment outlining the penalties put forth by Justice Engoron.
In response, defense attorney Clifford Robert, who represented Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., responded on behalf of all defendants arguing that it was “improper” for the prosecutors to submit a proposal for judgment without “any notice whatsoever” on the defendants’ part.

Justice Engoron responded by email on Feb. 21, asking defendants to “please let me know, by 5 p.m. today, if you object in any specific ways and how your counter-judgment would differ.”

He noted that the proposed judgment “exactly tracks” with the language of his order “except for the addition of defendants’ addresses and blanks for interest amounts.”

Mr. Robert then filed another reply letter, arguing that the attorney general’s “unseemly rush to memorialize a ‘judgment’ violates all accepted practice in New York state court.”

He asked to stay enforcement of the judgment for 30 days and argued that given that a court-appointed monitor is still in place, there should be no issue with a delay. Mr. Robert also highlighted two errors: one regarding when the interest should begin on the $1 million penalty for The Trump Organization’s former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, and the other concerning the business addresses of the defendants.

On Feb. 22, Andrew Amer, special counsel for the attorney general’s office, objected to the use of Florida addresses for the defendants, arguing that Trump Tower, in New York City, is where Trump Organization offices are located and business is conducted.

Mr. Amer objected to a 30-day stay on enforcement, arguing that the defendants didn’t sufficiently provide a basis for that request. He argued that the court hadn’t directed the state to confer with the defendants and there was no requirement that they do so, and he noted that the error regarding Mr. Weisselberg was inadvertent.

On top of the $355 million that President Trump will need to pay, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. have also been fined $4 million each, and Mr. Weisselberg $1 million.

Mr. Weisselberg and the former comptroller for The Trump Organization, Jeffrey McConney, have also been permanently barred from serving “in financial control” of any business in New York, while the executives and President Trump will also be barred from serving as an officer or director of any corporation or legal entity in the state for three years. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump will be barred from serving as directors or officers for two years.

President Trump and several of his entities are also barred from applying for loans from any financial institution registered in the state for three years, which may prove to be an obstacle if the former president is seeking to get a bond in the case to appeal.

Court-appointed monitor Barbara Jones will continue to monitor The Trump Organization for at least three years, and within 30 days submit her proposal for the authority she needs and recommendations for a risk compliance officer.

Additional penalties may be ordered at the recommendation of Ms. Jones and the compliance officer at a later date.

Attorney General Ready to Seize Assets

In a recent interview with ABC News, Ms. James said she was ready to seize President Trump’s property as a means of enforcing the judgment.

“If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets,” she said.

“We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day.”

Defense attorney Alina Habba, representing President Trump, had said in an interview with Fox News that President Trump was capable of paying the $355 million disgorgement penalty, or the roughly $400 million deposit that would be required of him to appeal the fraud ruling.

“Within 30 days, even if we choose to appeal this, which we will, we have to post the bond, which is the full amount and some, and we will be prepared to do that,” she said.

“Look, it’s no coincidence. ... they know by looking at his statements of financial condition that this guy is worth a lot of money. Billions and billions and billions of dollars, and that didn’t even include his brand.”

“What they’re trying to do between this case and my last case is put him out of business,” Ms. Habba said, referring to the recent $83 million penalty that a jury ordered President Trump to pay in a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.

She described the ongoing legal action against the former president as “grotesquely insane.”

“It’s not going to work, number one. Number two, what they’re trying to do is a scare tactic,” Ms. Habba said. “Unfortunately, they picked the wrong guy to pick on, in my opinion. He’s strong, he’s resilient, and he’s got a lot of cash.”