Trump owes $87K in interest per day until he pays the fine in his civil fraud case

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(NEW YORK) -- Former President Donald Trump owes an additional $87,502 in post-judgment interest every day until he pays the $354 million fine ordered by Judge Arthur Engoron in his civil fraud case, according to ABC News' calculations based on the judge's lengthy ruling in the case.

Judge Engoron on Friday fined Trump $354 million plus approximately $100 million in pre-judgment interest in the civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, after he found that Trump and his adult sons had inflated Trump's net worth in order to get more favorable loan terms. The former president has denied all wrongdoing and has said he will appeal.

Engoron ordered Trump to pay pre-judgment interest on each ill-gotten gain -- with interest accruing based on the date of each transaction -- as well as a 9% post-judgment interest rate once the court enters the judgment in the case.

With Trump owing more than $600,000 in interest every week, the interest not only adds to his mounting legal bills but will likely also guide the former president's approach to his appeal, according to University of Michigan business law professor Will Thomas.

"If he ends up losing on appeal, Trump will have to pay both the pre-judgment and the post-judgment interest," University of Michigan business law professor Will Thomas told ABC News.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, James vowed that Trump would pay the fine, including possibly seizing his assets like his namesake buildings if he does not have the cash for the fine.

“If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets,” James told ABC News.

Here are four things to know about Trump's massive penalties:

Why does Trump need to pay a 9% interest rate?

Judge Engoron ordered Trump to pay a 9% interest rate for the fine based on the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules.

Engoron had to determine the date from when the pre-judgment interest began accruing, which varies based on each transaction in question.

For post-judgment interest, Trump owes 9% of the fine annually -- starting from Friday when the ruling was issued -- until he pays the full amount.

How did the judge determine Trump should pay $354 million?

Judge Engoron ordered Trump to pay roughly $354 million in disgorgement based on three categories of ill-gotten profits.

First, Trump needs to pay $168 million for potential interest lost by his banks, which the judge determined Trump deceived into giving him a lower rate using false financial statements. Engoron ordered Trump to begin paying pre-judgement interest for those transactions beginning on March 4, 2019 -- the day when New York Attorney General Letitia James began her investigation.

Second, Trump owes $60 million for his profits from the sale of a New York golf course. The interest for that transaction began accruing on June 26, 2023, when Trump sold the lease for the course to Bally's.

Last, Trump owes $126 million for his profits from the sale of his Washington, D.C., hotel, and the interest for that fine began on May 11, 2022, when Trump sold the property.

What about the other co-defendants?

Trump's adult sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, each were fined $4 million based on the profits they received from the sale of the D.C. hotel, according to Engoron's ruling. They each have accrued $643,183 in interest on that fine, according to the ruling, owing an additional $990 daily.

Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was also fined $1 million for the separation agreement he signed when leaving the company, which Engoron determined was "designed to ensure his continued loyalty to the Trump Organization and his non-cooperation with law enforcement."

"There is substantial evidence that Allen Weisselberg's $2 million separation agreement was negotiated to compensate him for his continued non-cooperation with any entities with any legal interests 'adverse' to defendants," Engoron wrote. "Moreover, as Weisselberg was a critical player in nearly every instance of fraud, it would be inequitable to allow him to profit from his actions by covering up defendants' misdeeds."

Weisselberg owes an additional $100,356 in interest on top of the overall fine.

What happens when Trump appeals?

Trump will continue to accrue interest on the fine during his lengthy appeal of Engoron's ruling, unless he deposits the full amount of the fine into an escrow account, according to Thomas.

While Trump's appeal will prompt an automatic stay of the enforcement of Engoron's ruling, Trump needs to first put money into an escrow account or post a bond in order to appeal.

If Trump decides to post a bond to cover the fine during his appeal, the interest will continue to accrue during his appeal, adding potentially tens of millions of dollars in the process.

"It's a lot of money," Thomas told ABC News.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 at 6:12AM by Peter Charalambous, ABC News Permalink