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Trump cannot delay enforcement of $83.3 million verdict in E. Jean Carroll case

FILE PHOTO: Trump participates in a Fox News town hall with Laura Ingraham in Greenville

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A federal judge on Thursday denied Donald Trump's request to delay enforcement of the writer E. Jean Carroll's $83.3 million verdict in her recent defamation case.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan adds to pressure on the former U.S. president to line up an acceptable bond by Monday so he can appeal.

In the Jan. 26 verdict, jurors agreed with Carroll, a former Elle magazine advice columnist, that Trump had defamed her in June 2019 by denying he had raped her in the mid-1990s in a Bergdorf Goodman department store dressing room in Manhattan.

Kaplan made the verdict official on Feb. 8, and gave Trump 30 days to post a bond or cash during his appeal, which is expected to challenge the jury's finding of liability and the amount of damages.

Trump had sought to delay enforcement of the verdict until Kaplan ruled on his motions to throw it out, which he filed on Tuesday.

But the judge said Trump should not have waited 25 days after the verdict before seeking a delay.

He also said Trump failed to show how he might suffer "irreparable injury" if required to post a bond.

"Mr. Trump's current situation is a result of his own dilatory actions," the judge wrote.

Kaplan has yet to rule on Trump's request for a reduced bond.

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump's presidential campaign, said Trump "filed a timely motion to stay the ridiculous judgment," and that many courts recognized the importance of temporary stays to consider such motions.

"We look forward to continuing to litigate the case and to complete vindication of the truth," Cheung said.

Carroll's lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who is not related to the judge, declined to comment.

MULTIPLE JUDGMENTS

In seeking to avoid posting a big bond, or any bond at all, lawyers for Trump rejected Carroll's claim that his finances were strained.

They assured that Carroll was "fully protected," and said a $24.5 million bond would be more than enough to "secure any minimal risk" to her.

Carroll disagreed. She said Trump's finances were opaque, called Trump the "least trustworthy of borrowers" and said his request "boils down to nothing more than 'trust me.'"

Trump's financial flexibility deteriorated last month, when the judge who found him liable in New York Attorney General Letitia James' civil fraud case ordered him to pay $454.2 million.

He offered to post a $100 million bond in that case, but James said any bond should cover the entire judgment.

An appeals court judge on Feb. 28 denied Trump's request to delay enforcement during the appeal.

Asked on March 5 if he could pay what was owed or post bond in both cases, Trump told Fox News: "I have a lot of money. I can do what I want to do. ... I don't worry about the money."

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Stephen Coates)