My Appearance on CNN and Interview Discussing the Judgments Entered Against Donald J. Trump

We are fortunate to be governed by law, not ad hoc edicts issued by rulers. Part of our tradition, enshrined in our state and federal constitutions, is that the law applies equally to all, regardless of wealth, education, status, or power. It is not that way in many parts of the world.

I muse on this because recent events have brought home the point. I have watched with amazement as Donald J. Trump, a former President of the United States and a man of wealth and power, has had two enormous money judgments entered against him in civil litigation in New York. Mr. Trump has refused to pay and has appealed.

What effect does his appeal have on the judgments? What rights does the winner (judgment creditor) have while an appeal is pending? These and other questions were on the minds of many last month. I was asked to comment by CNN, where I focused on the stay of enforcement pending appeal that was issued just hours before my appearance. My interview can be seen here.

The main thing to know is that the taking of an appeal does not stay judgment enforcement. To obtain a stay, the judgment debtor usually must file a bond (an undertaking) issued by a financially sound surety that promises to pay the judgment in full with interest if it is affirmed. This provides security to the judgment creditor. A court can also, in its discretion, issue a stay or reduce the amount of the bond, which is what ultimately happened in the New York Attorney General’s case against Mr. Trump.

Had a stay not been issued, the Attorney General could have moved forward to enforce the judgment immediately, despite the pending appeal. I discussed some of the issues she would have faced in a lengthy interview by Business Insider magazine. LINK. Suffice it to say that despite Mr. Trump’s wealth, it would be no easy task to collect this judgment. But we should believe that the process will be governed by the same laws and procedures that govern any judgment entered in New York. Perhaps that is the most important point.

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