Trump reaches deal with New York AG Letitia James over multi-million dollar civil fraud bond

After weeks of back-and-forth between Donald Trump’s legal team and the New York Attorney General’s Office over the $175m bond in his civil fraud ruling, the two sides have agreed to allow the bond to be backed by a California-based company so long as it the collateral remains in cash, among other stipulations.

On Monday, attorneys for Mr Trump and Letitia James’s office met for a hearing on the bond dispute, approximately 500 feet from where opening arguments began in Mr Trump’s first criminal trial.

The dispute centred around the underwriter: Knight Specialty Insurance Company (KSIC) a California-based company that gave Mr Trump an 11th-hour lifeline. The company is part of the Knight Insurance Group, chaired by billionaire Don Hankey.

Ms James’s office raised concerns over the details of the bond, saying the company should be under full control of the collateral put by Mr Trump and that KSIC was not authorised to write business in New York.

KSCI disagreed, claiming in a filing that they could because it was backed in a Charles Schwab account pledged to them.

After a relatively brief hearing on Monday, lawyers for Mr Trump and Ms James’s office came to an agreement that would keep the $175m in collateral in cash, have KSCI maintain control of it and KSCI will designate an agent to accept legal services on their behalf in New York.

Justice Arthur Engoron, who presided over the hearing and the civil fraud trial, ruled that the bond could stand on the new terms.

New York attorney general Letitia James (AP)

The bond in the civil fraud case ruling has come a long way since Justice Engoron ordered Mr Trump to pay $354m plus interest in February after his civil fraud trial.

Justice Engoron found Mr Trump, his adult sons, and former executives of the Trump Organization liable for defrauding investors and banks to secure more favourable terms.

Mr Trump planned to appeal the ruling but couldn’t do so without posting an enormous bond.

After shopping around for companies to help him pay the bond, which by March was up to $464m, Mr Trump appealed to a New York appellate court asking them to reduce it.

The court handed him a win by granting him a 10-day extension and slashing it to $175m.

Donald Trump (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The terms of the new agreement should be finalised by Friday.

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