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Trump deadline to pay $454m looms: Here is what happens next

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Former United States President Donald Trump has until Monday to post a bond covering a $454m civil fraud judgement or face the risk of New York state seizing some of his marquee properties.

In a February 16 ruling, Judge Arthur Engoron found the real estate developer had overstated the value of his assets. Trump was ordered to pay the money he gained from lying in financial statements to dupe lenders and insurers.

This amount needs to be paid to pause enforcement of the judgement while Trump appeals Engoron’s judgement.

Will Trump be able to pay?

On March 18, Trump’s lawyers wrote in a court filing that “obtaining an appeal bond in the full amount” of the judgement “is not possible under the circumstances presented” because getting a bond for such a large sum of money is “a practical impossibility”. More than 30 bond companies rejected their entreaties, they said. The lawyers said posting the bond would require them to gather collateral worth $557m.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the case politically motivated as he runs for the US presidency a third time.

In a Truth Social post on Friday, Trump said he has nearly $500m in cash that he would much rather spend on his presidential run than the fraud judgement.

That number has gone up from Trump’s previous disclosures. In June 2021, a statement of financial condition that Trump submitted to the court showed he had $293.8m in cash and cash equivalents at the time.

Trump has a variety of sources of income, financial disclosure forms filed with the federal government in August show.

In 2022, Trump reported at least $537m in revenues related to golf courses and hotels, $30.4m in licensing fees and royalties, $26.5m of management fees and $61.1m in distributions from his stake in buildings such as 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York City.

Trump also made $6.2m from speaking engagements and $116,103 in pension payments from the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. In addition, he reported $268.7m in proceeds from a Washington, DC, hotel, including a gain on the sale of the property, and nearly $1m from the sale of two helicopters.

Trump owns hotels, office buildings, residential buildings, golf courses and estates. According to a June 2021 financial statement, Trump’s properties – including New York City office building 40 Wall Street, the Trump Tower in Manhattan and the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida – were worth $4.3bn at the time while Trump owed a total of $439.2m in loans and other liabilities. It said his net worth was $4.5bn.

Among his major properties, the document said golf clubs and other club facilities were worth $1.76bn, New York buildings such as Trump Tower and Trump Plaza were worth $524.7m and $33.4m, and his stakes in two buildings jointly owned with Vornado were worth $645.6m.

Trump’s worth is set to rise after his social media company, Truth Social, became a public company on Friday after a merger. Trump owns more than 60 percent of the company, which will bolster his net worth by $3bn. However, it would be difficult for Trump to turn this into cash for the next six months due to restrictions in the merger agreement.

Trump this month posted a $91.6m bond to cover an $83.3m defamation verdict for writer E Jean Carroll while he appeals. She sued him after Trump called her a liar for accusing him of raping her decades ago. He has denied wrongdoing.

What are Trump’s alternatives?

The former president could personally declare bankruptcy, which could pause enforcement of the judgement. However, he would still be personally liable if just his company, the Trump Organization, or other entities were to declare bankruptcy.

Trump has repeatedly bragged that he has never personally declared bankruptcy although several of his companies have.

“If he can’t post a bond or meet the appellate division’s bonding requirements, then I would expect him to file bankruptcy to take advantage of the automatic stay on collection,” Syracuse University Law Professor Gregory Germain told The Associated Press news agency.

What happens next?

Trump, a Republican, could approach an appeals court to seek an extension or lessening of the bond. He could also seek cash from elsewhere or sell some properties, which is considered unlikely.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, has said she will seek to seize some of Trump’s assets if he fails to meet the deadline. James originally brought the civil fraud lawsuit against him in September 2022.

New York state officials can actually “levy and sell his assets, lien his real property and garnish anyone who owes him money”, Germain told AP.

However, this is not going to happen immediately. Any attempt to collect would be done through such legal actions as liens and foreclosures. However, the state could lay the groundwork for doing so by subpoenaing Trump for information about his assets.

James could likely take more short-term measures, such as freezing or imposing restrictions on how Trump uses his bank accounts.

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Al Jazeera and news agencies

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‘Obvious’ Sydney mall killer targeted women, Australian police say

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New South Wales Police commissioner says videos of the attack ‘speak for themselves’.

Australian police have said they believe a man who fatally six stabbed people at a busy Sydney shopping centre specifically targeted women.

Five women and one man were killed on Saturday when a 40-year-old man went on a stabbing spree in the beach suburb of Bondi.

The women killed in the attack were identified as a 55-year-old designer, a 47-year-old architect and volunteer surf lifesaver, the 25-year-old daughter of an entrepreneur, a 27-year-old student from China and a 38-year-old new mother.

A 30-year-old Pakistani security guard, who reportedly tried to stop the attacker, was the only man killed in the attack.

The majority of those injured in the attack were also women.

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Karen Webb said on Monday that it was “obvious” the suspected attacker, Joel Cauchi, singled out women.

“It’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to detectives that seems to be an area of interest that the offender focused on women and avoided the men,” Webb told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“The videos speak for themselves, don’t they? That’s certainly a line for inquiry for us.”

Webb said officers were in the process of interviewing people close to Cauchi to gain “some insight into what he might have been thinking”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the gender breakdown of the victims was “concerning”.

“The gender breakdown is of course concerning – each and every victim here is mourned,” he told ABC radio.

Videos shared on social media showed Cauchi, wearing shorts and an Australian national rugby league jersey, targeting mostly female victims as he rampaged through Westfield Bondi Junction shopping complex.

The attack was brought to an end when police inspector Amy Scott shot him dead.

Australia’s national flag has been set at half-mast at major venues, including the Parliament House and Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, in honour of the victims.

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Al Jazeera and news agencies

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US military says it destroyed dozens of drones fired from Iran, Yemen

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US Central Command says it hit more than 80 one-way attack drones aimed at Israel.

The United States has destroyed dozens of drones and at least six ballistic missiles aimed at Israel from Iran and Yemen, its military has said.

US forces hit more than 80 one-way attack drones, including seven UAVs targeted on the ground prior to launch, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Monday.

“Iran’s continued unprecedented, malign, and reckless behaviour endangers regional stability and the safety of U.S. and coalition forces,” CENTCOM said in a post on X

“CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defense against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security.”

CENTCOM made the announcement after Iran late on Saturday launched its first-ever attack on Israeli territory in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on its embassy in Syria.

The attack involving more than 300 drones and missiles caused only modest damage as most were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system or the US and its partners.

Defense of Israel Activities Update

On April 13 and the morning of April 14, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) forces, supported by U.S. European Command destroyers, successfully engaged and destroyed more than 80 one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (OWA UAV) and at least six… pic.twitter.com/QYyk01o1Vs

— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 14, 2024

US President Joe Biden earlier praised US forces for their “extraordinary skill” in helping Israel take down “nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.”

Biden described US support for Israel’s self-defence as “ironclad” but warned that Washington would not join any retaliatory action taken by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government against Tehran.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said US forces “remain postured to protect US troops and partners in the region, provide further support for Israel’s defence, and enhance regional stability.”

The threat of all-out war between Israel and Iran has put the region on tenterhooks, prompting calls for restraint from Middle Eastern neighbours and major powers.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday warned that the Middle East was on “the brink”.

“The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate,” Guterres told a UN Security Council meeting convened in response to the Iranian attack.

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Iran claims ‘right to self-defence’ in Israel attack

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Video Duration 01 minutes 24 seconds

NewsFeed

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations says his country’s drone and missile attack against Israel was ‘in the exercise of Iran’s inherent right to self-defence’. Saeid Iravani told the UN Security Council Iran is not seeking to escalate conflict in the region.

Published On 15 Apr 2024

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