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Trump campaign pleads for one million donations as cash crunch looms

(Reuters) - Donald Trump's campaign on Wednesday called for donations from one million of his backers, warning he could lose his New York properties, two days after the former president failed to secure a bond to cover a $454 million judgment in a civil fraud case.

"KEEP YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF OF TRUMP TOWER!," reads a message to supporters from a joint fundraising committee that allocates the money it collects to his campaign and a separate political committee that has been paying Trump's legal bills.

The civil fraud case, brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James in September 2022, is one of several legal travails that Trump faces ahead of a Nov. 5 election rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden.

The message, sent by text with prompts for supporters to donate in amounts ranging from $20.24 to $3,300 or a specific amount, accuses James of wanting to seize Trump's properties and portrays her actions as part of a broader effort by Biden and Democrats to harm his reelection campaign.

"So before the day is over, I'm calling on ONE MILLION Pro-Trump patriots to chip in and say: STOP THE WITCH HUNT AGAINST PRESIDENT TRUMP!" the campaign message said.

Biden has said he is not involved in any of the cases against Trump. The Biden campaign declined to comment.

The fundraising message links donors to the joint fundraising committee that Trump typically asks supporters to contribute through. It alludes to James' case, but it does not say that funds would be used for that purpose.

It is unclear if Trump could use the funds to pay for the judgment. While federal law prohibits the use of campaign money for personal expenses, Trump has been able to use donor money to pay some of his lawyers’ fees, saying his legal defense is campaign-related.

On Monday, Trump's lawyers told an appellate court in New York that their client had been rejected by 30 surety companies for a bond to cover the massive civil fraud judgment, inching him closer to the possibility of having his properties seized.

Trump must either pay the sum out of his own pocket or post a bond to stave off the state's seizure while he appeals Justice Arthur Engoron's Feb. 16 judgment against him for misstating property values to dupe lenders and insurers.

Earlier this month, Trump posted a $91.6 million bond to cover an $83.3 million defamation verdict for the writer E. Jean Carroll while he appeals, in a case that arose from his branding her a liar after she accused him of raping her decades ago.

He has denied wrongdoing in the litany of civil and criminal cases imperiling his real estate businesses and campaign.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, Tim Reid in Washington and Jack Queen in New York; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Bill Berkrot)