14 Comments
Feb 17Liked by Asha Rangappa

As always, fantastic commentary! The news cycle is such in Tsunami Trump world that I completely forgot that the special counsel that was appointed to investigate President Biden ultimately found the source to lack credibility / lied to the FBI. I could never reconcile Joe Biden taking a bribe, and thank goodness, he is properly vindicated, except to the ultra-MAGAs who believe that Taylor Swift put a spell on whoever.

I greatly hope that the $350 million fine will put him in his proper place once and for all, although I had hoped his company could never do business in the State of New York again. Funny how his beligerant attitude toward the judge in an effort to look tough to his base merely backfired on him. I don't think the jury took his arrogance and defiant attitude in a positive manner. Furthermore, if Judge Ergeron was deciding the penalty, trying to aggravate him only prompted his honor to impose a fine at the upper end of the scale, as well as underscores the contempt and lack of seriousness in the issue at hand, thus need for a penalty that would resonate with the thickheaded former President.

I don't want him to go through bankruptcy again until after he coughs up the money. The upside of his Presidential run is that he is unlikely to declare bankruptcy during the campaign to avoid looking like the helpless, big mouth weakling he really is. It will be interesting how this all plays out.

(BTW, Pancake looks to be either partially or entirely Maine Coon! People who don't like cats are control freaks, or simply don't understand the vast array of "personalities". But I digress...)

Expand full comment
Feb 17Liked by Asha Rangappa

OMG Asha, I have cats named Egg and Bacon ๐Ÿ˜‚

Expand full comment
Feb 18Liked by Asha Rangappa

Louis Gohmert: "I will go down in history as the most embarrassing congressman Texas ever sent to Washington."

James Comer: "Hold my beer."

Expand full comment
Feb 18ยทedited Feb 18Liked by Asha Rangappa

On surety. In a case like this, the surety could require almost any amount of collateral, including 100%. The 10% is the PREMIUM for the bond which is non-refundable. (10% is just a common premium; he could be required to pay more depending on his financial stability. Depends on how its rates are filed in NY.) Note that the surety has to be licensed in NY--he can't just post something from Putin Surety Association.

If trump loses, the surety has to fork over the whole amount of the bond--and would come after trump (the "principal") under an indemnity agreement (and common law indemnity, but they always require a written agreement). The collateral could be cash, assignment of stock, deeds of trust on the properties. (Note that with a bond, the surety does the work of collecting; there is a pot of money the plaintiffs can just waltz away with).

To the extent that any properties already have deeds of trust on them, the surety will be leery of simply having a second.

Similarly, according to a surety agent in NY, a filing of an appeal does NOT stop the plaintiff from beginning execution proceedings--not until the bond is posted. So if James managed to get a judgment lien on one of the properties before the surety could get its deed of trust, the surety's position would be behind that lien.

All this is going to be interesting to watch, particularly which surety is dumb enough to issue a bond. An appeal is, as you note, all or nothing as to the bond. I was a surety lawyer my entire career. I didn't focus on the underwriting side, but I'm going to assume that unlike other types of bonds depending on performance of a contract, which can have a lot of subtleties, appeal bonds are slam dunk: you win it or you lose it. So I would think an evaluation like yours about the likelihood of winning would have some weight in the underwriting decision.

Of course if a surety has trump tied up six ways from Sunday as to collateral, it might go for the premium despite the possibility or having to fork over the penal sum. Then, from the surety's point of view it could be win-win--38 mill in premium and foreclose on the collateral. Sureties have spent YEARS perfecting their indemnity agreements--very little wiggle room for trump to protest. They would have prevailing party attorney fees included. And interest on the amount owed. And pretty sure they would take a LOT of property collateral because they'd insist on the values found by the court, not something inflated.

Ever since the E Jean Carroll judgment I have spent much of my Substack time explaining surety ๐Ÿ˜‰

So financially trump may be as bad off with a bond as just paying the judgment. Meanwhile, as he delays, 9% interest keeps going. He would have to pay THAT to the plaintiffs to the extent it becomes over the surety's penal sum. Delay is not his friend.

Expand full comment
founding
Feb 18Liked by Asha Rangappa

Thanks for the introduction to Just Security!

Expand full comment

So did the whole Smirnov op just become the classic example of reflexive response?

Expand full comment

Trump has appealed to SCOTUS that Presidents have absolute immunity. There is a lot of discussion that if SCOTUS rules in his favor it means President Biden can do what he wants. Is there a large side-effect that no executive agency can be sued about, say, regulations because they are carrying out the Presidents will. By implication, agency decision are his actions.

As an aside, Biden's first action, if he is given that immunity, should be to fire the conservative justices.

Expand full comment

What an insane news week! Thanks to you and all the legal eagles for great commentary and analysis.

Expand full comment

trump started a go fund me page, you can report it for rule #9, it does break the rules. https://www.gofundme.com/f/stand-with-trump-raise-the-settlement

Expand full comment

Pancake has the right idea! ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด

Expand full comment