A New York appeals court on Monday agreed to hold off collection of former President Donald Trump’s $454 million civil fraud judgment — if he puts up $175 million within 10 days.

If he does, it will stop the clock on collection and prevent the state from seizing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's assets while he appeals.

The development came just before New York Attorney General Letitia James was expected to initiate efforts to collect the judgment.

What You Need To Know

  • A New York appeals court has agreed to hold off collection of former President Donald Trump’s $454 million civil fraud judgment — if he puts up $175 million within 10 days
  • If Trump does, it will stop the clock on collection and prevent the state from seizing his assets while he appeals
  • In a statement posted to his social media platform, Trump said "we will abide by the decision" and "post either a bond, equivalent securities, or cash"

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James said that the ex-president "is still facing accountability for his staggering fraud

In a statement posted to his social media platform, Trump said "we will abide by the decision" and "post either a bond, equivalent securities, or cash."

He also railed against James and New York state Judge Arthur Engoron, saying that their "credibility" has been "shattered," and said Monday's ruling "shows how ridiculous and outrageous" the nearly half-a-billion dollar penalty against him is.

Speaking to reporters outside of a New York courtroom for a hearing in a separate case against him, Trump celebrated the decision, saying that Engoron "has done a terrible disservice to New York" and baselessly charging that "business are fleeing" the state, which is being "battered" by his ruling. 

"I greatly respect the decision of the appellate division, and I'll post either $175 million in cash or bonds or security or whatever is necessary very quickly, within the ten days," Trump said. "And I thank the appellate division for acting quickly. But Judge Engoron is a disgrace to this country and this should not be allowed to happen."

In a statement to Spectrum News, James said that the ex-president "is still facing accountability for his staggering fraud."

"The court has already found that he engaged in years of fraud to falsely inflate his net worth and unjustly enrich himself, his family, and his organization," James said. "The $464 million judgment – plus interest – against Donald Trump and the other defendants still stands."

Trump’s lawyers had pleaded for a state appeals court to halt collection, claiming it was “a practical impossibility” to get an underwriter to sign off on a bond for such a large sum.

The ruling was issued by the state’s intermediate appeals court, the Appellate Division of the state’s trial court, where Trump is fighting to overturn a judge’s Feb. 16 finding that he lied about his wealth as he grew the real estate empire that launched him to stardom and the presidency.

After James won the judgment, she didn't seek to enforce it during a legal time-out for Trump to ask the appeals court for a reprieve from paying up.

That period ended Monday, though James could have decided to allow Trump more time.

James, a Democrat, told ABC News last month that if Trump doesn't have the money to pay, she would seek to seize his assets and was "prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid.”

She didn't detail the process or specify what holdings she meant, and her office has declined more recently to discuss its plans. Meanwhile, it has filed notice of the judgment, a technical step toward potentially moving to collect.

As Trump arrived Monday at the New York courthouse for the separate hearing in his criminal hush money case, he didn't respond to a journalist's question about whether he'd obtained a bond. At a press conference later in the day he said they would find away to pay the $175 million "very quickly" and that ultimately "we'll win the case."

Casting the case as a plot by Democrats, the ex-president asserted that they were trying to take his cash to starve his 2024 campaign.

“I had intended to use much of that hard earned money on running for President. They don’t want me to do that — ELECTION INTERFERENCE!” he wrote on his Truth Social platform. Referring to his properties as “my ‘babies,’” he bristled at the idea of being forced to sell them or seeing them seized.

At the press conference, Trump would not say if he actually planned on spending his own fortune on his campaign, which has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from donors and spent it nearly as quickly as it comes in — in part on his tens of millions of dollars in legal fees.

"First of all, it's none of your business. I mean, frankly. But I might do that. I have the option," he said in response to a reporter's question. "A crooked judge shouldn't say 'we're going to have you post a bond and take all of that money' that I could be spending on a campaign or other things if I want to do other things."

A spokesperson for President Joe Biden's reelection campaign called Trump "weak and desperate" in a statement about the ex-president's Monday afternoon press conference.

"His campaign can’t raise money, he is uninterested in campaigning outside his country club, and every time he opens his mouth, he pushes moderate and suburban voters away with his dangerous agenda," Biden-Harris 2024 spokesperson James Singer said in a statement. "America deserves better than a feeble, confused, and tired Donald Trump."

Seizing assets is a common legal option when someone doesn’t have the cash to pay a civil court penalty. In Trump’s case, potential targets could include such properties as his Trump Tower penthouse, aircraft, Wall Street office building or golf courses.

The attorney general also could go after his bank and investment accounts. Trump maintained on social media on Friday that he has almost $500 million in cash but intends to use much of it on his presidential run. He has accused James and Engoron, who's also a Democrat, of seeking “to take the cash away so I can’t use it on the campaign.”

One possibility would be for James' office to go through a legal process to have local law enforcement seize properties, then seek to sell them off. But that's a complicated prospect in Trump's case, noted Stewart Sterk, a real estate law professor at Cardozo School of Law.

“Finding buyers for assets of this magnitude is something that doesn’t happen overnight,” he said, noting that at any ordinary auction, “the chances that people are going to be able to bid up to the true value of the property is pretty slim.”

Trump's debt stems from a monthslong civil trial last fall over the state's allegations that he, his company and top executives vastly puffed up his wealth on financial statements, conning bankers and insurers who did business with him. The statements valued his penthouse for years as though it were nearly three times its actual size, for example.

Trump and his co-defendants denied any wrongdoing, saying the statements actually lowballed his fortune, came with disclaimers and weren't taken at face value by the institutions that lent to or insured him. The penthouse discrepancy, he said, was simply a mistake made by subordinates.

Engoron sided with the attorney general and ordered Trump to pay $355 million, plus interest that grows daily. Some co-defendants, including his sons and company executive vice presidents, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, were ordered to pay far smaller amounts.

Under New York law, filing an appeal generally doesn't hold off enforcement of a judgment. But there's an automatic pause if the person or entity posts a bond that covers what's owed.

The ex-president's lawyers have said it's impossible for him to do that. They said underwriters wanted 120% of the judgment and wouldn't accept real estate as collateral. That would mean tying up over $557 million in cash, stocks and other liquid assets, and Trump's company needs some left over to run the business, his attorneys have said.

"Look, I built a phenomenal company -- someday they'll actually report that -- I built a phenomenal company that's very low leverage, unbelievably low leverage, with a lot of cash flow and everything else," Trump said on Monday. "You shouldn't be persecuting people that have done a great job."