Trump posts $175M bond in civil fraud case, then hit with expanded gag order in hush money case

Donald Trump posted a $175 million US bond in his New York civil fraud case on Monday, as a judge in a separate case hit the former U.S. president with a gag order following online comments he made about the judge’s daughter.

The bond halts the collection of the more than $454 million US that Trump owes and prevents the state from seizing his assets while he appeals, according to a court filing.

The bond is essentially a placeholder, meant to guarantee payment if the judgment is upheld. If that happens, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will have to pay the state the whole sum, which grows with daily interest.

Trump is fighting to overturn a judge’s Feb. 16 finding that he lied about his wealth as he fostered the real estate empire that launched him to stardom and the presidency. The trial focused on how Trump’s assets were valued on financial statements that went to bankers and insurers to get loans and deals.

Trump denies any wrongdoing, saying the statements actually low-balled his fortune, came with disclaimers, and weren’t taken at face value by the institutions that lent to or insured him.

WATCH | A day of extreme highs and lows for Trump in court: 

A day of extreme highs and lows for Trump in court

Former U.S. president Donald Trump received two very different court rulings Monday as one judge ruled his criminal trial will start on April 15, while another slashed the bond requirement in his New York civil fraud trial.

Meanwhile, in Trump’s hush-money criminal case, Judge Juan M. Merchan on Monday expanded the former president’s gag order after he assailed the judge’s daughter and made a false claim about her on social media last week.

Merchan said his original gag order, issued last Tuesday, did not include members of his family but that Trump’s subsequent actions warranted including them.

The judge’s daughter, Loren Merchan, is a Democratic political consultant. Prosecutors had urged the judge to clarify or expand his gag order after Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform that Loren Merchan “makes money by working to ‘Get Trump,”‘ and wrongly accused her of posting a social media photo showing him behind bars.

The trial, which involves allegations Trump falsified payment records in a scheme to cover up negative stories during his 2016 presidential campaign, is scheduled to begin April 15. Trump denies wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Trump’s lawyers had fought the gag order and its expansion, arguing that Trump was engaging in protected political campaign speech.

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