Trump $175m bond lifeline branded an ‘absolute travesty’ as Truth Social hits Wall Street today: Latest

Donald Trump appears in New York court for hearing in hush money case

Donald Trump’s experienced a day of mixed fortunes in the courtroom on Monday as the judge presiding over his hush money case in Manhattan ruled the trial could go ahead as planned with jury selection on 15 April while a New York appeals court granted him a major win on the day his $464m fraud bond had been due.

Mr Trump attended the pretrial hearing on the hush money case and said afterwards he would have “no problem testifying”, adding that he expects to become “more popular” if he is ultimately convicted because his supporters know the case against him is a “scam.”

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidate was unexpectedly handed a 10-day extension to pay $175m of the total fraud judgement against him as the deadline day for that payment dawned.

Mr Trump has repeatedly claimed that he is worth billions of dollars but that much of that value is tied up in the Trump Organization and his brand-building real estate holdings.

New York attorney general Letitia James responded by saying the defendant “is still facing accountability for his staggering fraud”.

On Tuesday, his Truth Social platform will begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange as a public company.

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Jeffrey Clark ‘attempted coup’ at Justice Department, ethics counsel says

Acting Assistant US Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, speaking at a news conference in October 2020

(REUTERS)

Jeffrey Clark, a former senior official in the US Justice Department, attempted to enlist the agency in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to undo his 2020 election loss, a Washington ethics lawyer said on Tuesday.

Clark is facing a disciplinary hearing which could see him lose his license to practice law. Trump tried to put Clark in charge of the Justice Department in his administration’s final days as he pushed false claims of widespread voter fraud in the election.

“What Mr Clark was attempting to do was essentially a coup at the Department of Justice,” Hamilton “Phil” Fox, the District of Columbia Bar disciplinary counsel said in his opening argument.

The remark drew an objection from Clark’s defence lawyer, who was due to give his opening argument later.

Clark, who served as acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division under Trump, faces a multi-day hearing on ethics charges that accuse him of attempting to take actions “involving dishonesty” and that “would seriously interfere with the administration of justice”.

Clark, who has denied violating legal ethics rules, wrote on social media on Monday that he is being targeted “because I am a Trump supporter who questioned the 2020 election”.

The hearing is being held by a three-member committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility, an arm of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. If it finds that Clark violated ethics rules, it could recommend that his license be suspended or revoked. The full board would take up such a recommendation, with final action in the hands of the appeals court.

The DC Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which investigates lawyers accused of violating legal ethics rules, brought the case against Clark.

Reuters26 March 2024 14:58

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From The Apprentice to the presidency, Trump Tower has seen it all

Top of Letitia James’s list for repossession could be Trump’s pride and joy, Trump Tower, the Fifth Avenue skyscraper that has been integral to his glitzy personal brand for several decades.

Here’s a look at its history, from construction to its starring role in his reality TV career.

Joe Sommerlad26 March 2024 14:45

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Trump’s media company valued at nearly $10bn as shares surge in debut

Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group surged more than 45 per cent on Tuesday in their debut on the Nasdaq that comes more than two years since its merger with a blank-check firm was announced.

At $72.63, the company’s market capitalization was $9.84bn on an undiluted basis. Trading in the shares under the ticker “DJT” was briefly halted for volatility just after the opening bell.

Trump’s majority stake in TMTG was last valued at $5.72bn, although lock-up restrictions for six months could prevent him from selling or borrowing against his shareholding.

TMTG, which owns social media platform Truth Social, officially merged with blank-check company Digital World Acquisition Corp on Monday.

Shares of Digital World, which is now TMTG, had surged more than 35 per cent that day.

“The valuation of the business is rich relative to its underlying fundamentals, but I would not get in front of it in the near term,” said Thomas Hayes, Chairman of Great Hill Capital.

“This valuation may be more of a proxy on the enthusiasm of supporters for Trump than a reasonable estimate of underlying business prospects.”

TMTG was the second biggest percentage gainer across US exchanges at 9.55am, according to LSEG data. Retail trader-focused social media and trading platform Stocktwits listed it as the most trending stock.

Trump, who is facing four criminal trials in his race for the US presidency, has been struggling to raise money for his campaign and legal expenses.

Meanwhile, a pause to a ruling that would have blocked New York state authorities from seizing his assets bought Trump some financial breathing room as he tries to build a campaign war chest and keep his real-estate empire intact.

The deal will inject $300m cash into Truth Social, which had lost $10.6m from its operations in the first nine months of 2023.

The company also provides a way for supporters of Trump to bet on his resurgence as a political figure, as evidenced by shares of shell company Digital World Acquisition nearly tripling in value this year.

A Reddit user Chester-Ming posted “the (Trump) hype has the potential to offset everything — shitty fundamentals, insane dilution and more”, on the 15 million-strong “wallstreetbets” investor forum, although the user warned that Trump could potentially cut his stake.

Digital World said in a filing last month that Trump may divest his stake in Truth Social and cease any involvement in its management based on how his bid for president goes.

The special purpose acquisition firm signed its merger agreement with Trump’s company in October 2021 and since then has been the target of investigations by the US Department of Justice.

It reached an $18m settlement with the US securities regulator over inaccurate disclosures in July last year.

Shareholders voted in favour of the deal last week, more than a month after the regulator gave the green light for the deal.

Reuters26 March 2024 14:30

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How much is Trump’s property empire worth?

Here’s a look at the value of the Republican’s real estate portfolio, which could yet fall into Letitia James’s hands if he cannot rustle up $175m before the end of next week.

How much is Trump’s property empire worth?

Republican presidential candidate threatened with repossession of luxury New York real estate assets after being found guilty of inflating their value to ensure favourable terms from banks and lenders

Joe Sommerlad26 March 2024 14:15

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Trump takes aim at hush-money judge and his daughter

Donald Trump has lashed out at Judge Juan Merchan and his daughter on Truth Social.

Judge Merchan is presiding over the New York criminal hush-money case brought against the former president by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Here’s what Mr Trump wrote on his social media platform this morning:

Judge Juan Merchan, a very distinguished looking man, is nevertheless a true and certified Trump Hater who suffers from a very serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. In other words, he hates me! His daughter is a senior executive at a Super Liberal Democrat firm that works for Adam “Shifty” Schiff, the Democrat National Committee, (Dem)Senate Majority PAC, and even Crooked Joe Biden. He was recently the judge on an unrelated trial of a long term employee, elderly and not in good health. This judge treated him viciously, telling him either you cooperate or I’m putting you in jail for 15 years. He pled, and went to jail for very minor offenses, highly unusual, served 4 months in Rikers, and now they are after him again, this time for allegedly lying (doesn’t look like a lie to me!), and they threatened him again with 15 years if he doesn’t say something bad about “TRUMP.” He is devastated and scared! These COUNTRY DESTROYING SCOUNDRELS & THUGS HAVE NO CASE AGAINST ME. WITCH HUNT!

Oliver O’Connell26 March 2024 14:02

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Murkowski says she’s considering quitting Republican Party over Trump

Lisa Murkowski’s future in the GOP is now publicly in question as the Alaska senator says she is grappling with the reality that her party is set to nominate the twice-impeached former president who faces 88 criminal charges for the presidency.

The centrist Republican has broken with her party’s base several times in recent years, including in the second Trump impeachment trial, and now cannot stomach the prospect of him becoming the party’s presidential nominee.

John Bowden has more on her dilemma.

Joe Sommerlad26 March 2024 13:45

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McDaniel hiring backlash continues on NBC

The network’s decision to hire former Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel continues to face criticism from pundits on air, with Lawrence O’Donnell particularly damning in deriding the Trump ally for dropping “Romney” from her surname to please the former president over his hatred of her uncle Mitt Romney.

Here’s John Bowden on Chuck Todd’s reaction to McDaniel.

Joe Sommerlad26 March 2024 13:15

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Hutchinson slams MAGA representatives for ‘lying to their constituents’

Strong stuff from the former Trump administration aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who bravely spoke out to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack about the then-president’s activities on that infamous day.

Joe Sommerlad26 March 2024 12:45

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Trump claimed he had $500m ‘in cash’ for his campaign. Will he use it now? ‘None of your business’

Last week, Trump claimed he had “almost” $500m “in cash” that he obtained “through hard work, talent and luck.”

He said that “substantial amount” was intended to fund his presidential campaign.

Days later, facing an imminent deadline to post an appeals bond of nearly half a billion dollars to block enforcement of civil fraud judgment against him, the former president suggested he had “a similar amount in my bank account” and he “intended to use much of that hard earned money on running for President.”

But after a New York appeals court allowed him to post a $175m bond up to 10 days after Monday’s deadline to come up with the cash, the Republican Party’s likely nominee for president said it’s “none of your business” if he actually puts up any of his own money for his campaign.

Here’s more from Alex Woodward.

Joe Sommerlad26 March 2024 12:15

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Georgia racketeering case: Fani Willis denies ethics dispute delayed Trump prosecution

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis disputed that her office’s prosecution of Trump over his efforts to pressure state officials in Georgia to change the 2020 election results was in any way hindered or slowed down by the dispute over her relationship with a prosecutor on the case.

John Bowden has the latest from the Peach State.

Joe Sommerlad26 March 2024 11:45


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