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Fact check: Trump falsely claims, again, that he had to post bond to appeal civil fraud decision

Former President Donald Trump has falsely claimed, again, that he had to post a bond in order to appeal a $454 million civil fraud judgment against him – and falsely claimed, again, that Judge Arthur Engoron did something unusual in forcing him to post a bond during the appeal process.

On Tuesday, the morning after Trump posted the $175 million bond necessary to prevent New York’s attorney general from beginning to collect on Engoron’s judgment, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee wrote on social media: “I had to pay New York State in order to appeal a corrupt decision by a biased, crooked and highly overturned judge. It’s supposed to be the other way around - you appeal before you pay. Is a crooked New York Judge allowed to make you pay for the ‘privilege’ of appealing a wrongful & corrupt decision??? NOT IN AMERICA!!!”

Trump made similar claims in March, claiming, for example, that “Engoron wants me to put up the ridiculous fine (I DID NOTHING WRONG!) before I get a chance to Appeal his crazed ruling - A first!”

Facts First: Trump’s claims are comprehensively untrue. He was not required to post a bond in order to appeal Engoron’s ruling; he began the appeal process in February, more than a month before he posted the bond. And the requirement he actually faced – to post a bond to prevent collection during the appeal process – was not “a first” or some unusual requirement created by Engoron. In fact, the requirement is set out by New York state law, and it is regularly applied in civil cases in the state.

“This is literally the way that the NY rules of court are designed to work, and actually work every day,” Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor who is now a litigator in private practice in New York, told CNN in March. He said at the time that the rules being applied to Trump “are applied every day in New York courts, on verdicts of all sizes,” though the size of the judgment against Trump was notably large. Epner added: “Donald Trump is either horribly misinformed or lying.”

And there is no evidence for Trump’s repeated claims that Engoron is “crooked” or “corrupt.”

Under New York law for civil cases, it is standard to have to post a bond (or cash) in the full amount of a judgment in order to secure a stay that prevents collection during the appeal. In March, Trump falsely claimed this was an unprecedented Engoron requirement. Later in March, after Trump’s lawyers told a New York appeals court that it had proven impossible to secure a bond for more than $450 million, the appeals court decided that Trump could put up a lower amount, $175 million.

Epner told CNN at the time that “it’s highly unusual that it would be reduced at all,” and “highly unusual that it would be reduced by this amount,” though not unprecedented.

If Trump had not posted a bond and if New York Attorney General Letitia James had collected on the judgment, and then Trump had eventually won the case on appeal, James would have been required to return any collected money to Trump along with interest.

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