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Trump attorneys post bond to support $83.3 million award to writer in defamation case

Republican former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party, Jan. 23, 2024, in Nashua, N.H.
Matt Rourke
Republican former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party, Jan. 23, 2024, in Nashua, N.H.

Updated March 8, 2024 at 12:37 PM ET

NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump has secured a bond sufficient to support an $83.3 million jury award granted to writer E. Jean Carroll during a January defamation trial stemming from rape claims she made against Trump, his lawyer said Friday as she notified the federal judge who oversaw the trial that an appeal was underway.

Attorney Alina Habba filed papers with the New York judge to show that Trump had secured a $91.6 million bond from the Federal Insurance Co. She simultaneously filed a notice of appeal to show Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential front-runner, is appealing the verdict to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The filings came a day after Judge Lewis A. Kaplan refused to delay a Monday deadline for posting a bond to ensure that the 80-year-old Carroll can collect the $83.3 million if it remains intact following appeals.

The posting of the bond was a necessary step to delay payment of the award until the 2nd Circuit can rule.

Trump is facing financial pressure to set aside money to cover both the judgment in the Carroll case and an even bigger one in a lawsuit in which he was found liable for lying about his wealth in financial statements given to banks.

A New York judge recently refused to halt collection of a $454 million civil fraud penalty while Trump appeals. He now has until March 25 to either pay up or buy a bond covering the full amount. In the meantime, interest on the judgment continues to mount, adding roughly $112,000 each day.

Trump's lawyers have asked for that judgment to be stayed on appeal, warning he might need to sell some properties to cover the penalty.

On Thursday, Kaplan wrote that any financial harm to Trump results from his slow response to the late-January verdict in the defamation case over statements he made about Carroll while he was president in 2019 after she claimed in a memoir that he raped her in spring 1996 in a midtown Manhattan luxury department store dressing room.

Trump vehemently denied the claims, saying that he didn't know her and that the encounter at a Bergdorf Goodman store across the street from Trump Tower never took place.

A jury last May awarded Carroll $5 million after concluding that Trump sexually abused Carroll in the 1996 encounter, though it rejected Carroll's rape claims, as rape was defined by New York state law. A portion of the award also stemmed from the jury's finding that Trump defamed Carroll with statements he made in October 2022.

The January trial pertained solely to statements Trump made in 2019 while he was president. Kaplan instructed the jury that it must accept the findings of the jury last May and was only deciding how much, if anything, Trump owed Carroll for his 2019 statements.

Trump did not attend the May trial, but he testified briefly and regularly sat with defense lawyers at the January trial, though his behavior, including disparaging comments that a lawyer for Carroll said were loud enough for jurors to hear, prompted Kaplan to threaten to banish him from the courtroom.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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