Donald Trump posts $175m bond as he appeals against New York fraud judgment

Move comes after judge expands gag order on former president in a separate criminal case

Donald Trump has posted a $175 million (€162 million) bond to prevent the New York attorney general from collecting on a near half-billion dollar fraud judgment against him and his businesses, temporarily ending a stand-off that could have led to parts of the former president’s property empire being seized.

The bond, which Mr Trump had to post in order to pause the enforcement of the judgment while he appeals against it, was underwritten by the Knight Insurance Group in California, according to a filing to a Manhattan court on Monday.

The amount he was forced to post was reduced from the full amount – which Mr Trump had claimed would be an “impossible” sum to secure – to $175 million by an appeals court last week.

The posting of the bond came as a gag order against Mr Trump, imposed last week by the judge overseeing a separate criminal case due to go to trial later this month, was widened by another New York court, after the former president had criticised the judge’s daughter on social media.


Mr Trump had spent the Easter holiday posting various screeds against Judge Juan Merchan and his family on social media, naming his daughter and crying foul on the basis that she worked at a political consulting firm that counts prominent Democrats among its clients.

One post linked to a story containing a picture of Judge Merchan’s daughter and another to a social media account that Mr Trump said belonged to her – a claim denied by a spokesperson for the New York courts.

The office of the Manhattan district attorney, who brought the “hush money” case against Mr Trump, wrote to the judge claiming that the former president’s “dangerous, violent, and reprehensible rhetoric fundamentally threatens the integrity of [the upcoming trial] and is intended to intimidate witnesses and trial participants alike”.

Lawyers for the office asked for Mr Trump to be explicitly banned from talking about the judge’s family. But Mr Trump’s counsel said to do so would restrict his “constitutionally protected speech”.

Late on Monday, Judge Merchan granted the district attorney’s motion, saying that while he was “concerned about the first amendment rights of a defendant, especially when the accused is a public figure”, the threat to the integrity of the case was “very real”.

“Admonitions are not enough, nor is reliance on self-restraint. The average observer must now, after hearing defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well,” Judge Merchan wrote.

Mr Trump’s posts on his Truth Social network mentioning Judge Merchan’s daughter appeared to have been deleted after the revised gag order was handed down.

The hush money case, in which Mr Trump is accused of buying the silence of porn actor Stormy Daniels, who alleged an affair with him in the run-up to the 2016 election, and then disguising those payments in business records, is due to go to trial in Manhattan on April 15th. Mr Trump will be required to attend the trial in person four days a week.

It is among four criminal cases that Mr Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the US presidency, is facing, in addition to various civil suits in US courts. He posted a $91.6 million bond last month while appealing against an $83.3 million civil judgment for the defamation of writer E Jean Carroll. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024