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Appeals Court Judge Trims Trump Bond To $175M, Adds 10 Days To Deadline; Judge Rejects Trump Request, Sets Hush Money Trial For April 15; Boing CEO To Step Down In Wake Of Ongoing Safety Problems. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 25, 2024 - 13:30   ET



JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: And he talked -- he was asked if he would take foreign money. He said no.

But then he talked about how some banks are outside of the U.S. and maybe you use those banks. But -- and again, it just hits at the heart as you hear him talk over and over again, that he can't stand the idea that he doesn't have the money or wouldn't have the money to pay for this.

What more do we know about how he will pay for this bond? And these claims that now he's going to contribute to his campaign?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Yes, until about three hours ago. I mean, they we're kind of searching forever single solution because, as of this morning, they had not yet found a way to make that half-a- billion-dollar bond to be able to put that up.

Then a state appeals court, of course, here in New York came in and lowered that and also gave him 10 additional days to carry through with that.

His attorney had been out previously, the attorney who argued and lost the civil judgment, the civil fraud case, whether or not he would turn to a foreign government potentially to help pay for that.

She would not answer. Instead saying that it was a privilege -- that was privileged information.

But we have Kara Scannell and Paula Reid back with me.

And, Kara, you actually were talking to an attorney recently, another Trump attorney, about this very the issue.

Which I should note, Trump -- Trump said he didn't think he would need to here, but he did say he did believe you would be allowed to turn to a foreign government if they offered to help cover not only as mounting legal fees, but when it comes to putting up this bond, specifically.

What did the attorney tell you? KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. So this was a different

attorney, Chris Kise, who was directly involved in this case. And this was after there was confusion about whether Trump would accept any foreign money.

And on Friday, he told me, on the record, he said, categorically, it's not true.

He said no money from a foreign government, not Russia, China, is under consideration nor has it ever been under consideration. So very stark there saying that they're not considering foreign money.

Now, Trump talking about a foreign bank is a different thing, unless it's a state-owned bank because there are a number of foreign banks and -- and that's a different situation.

But they were pretty determinative on Friday that he was not going to look for any foreign money.

And you know, he does have cash still. Trump still does have cash. And the issue with the bond is that these insurers were only willing to accept as collateral, cash, or stock.

And so Trump now could get a bond or get two bonds because some have said that they had internal limits of not giving a bond more than $100 million. So he could get two bonds and now post that with cash. Because he does have the cash.

That's why that -- that is what his lawyers said was the biggest obstacle that they faced in putting together a half billion dollars was that he didn't have the cash to get companies comfortable with taking it. And that was really the issue for him.

So the appeals court now saying you only have to come up with $175 million. He has that so he can satisfy this bond.

COLLINS: And right before he left, Paula, he said that he would try to appeal the ruling from the judge today.


COLLINS: That this trial will start on April 15th. What's the likelihood of a pretrial appeal ruling working?

REID: Yes. I don't think that's going to work. There's no real factual basis for him to prevail on that appeal. But it is still his right to try.

And as we've seen with their strategy, they will try any avenue, any possibility to delay.

And I'll point out that we thought, for certain, that this trial was going to start today on March 25th, and it has not because, of course, the Justice Department handed over this additional evidence.

So right now, April 15th is the date, but anything can and will happen in Trump legal world.

COLLINS: Yes. Now, the judge seemed very steadfast on that April 15 date.

Boris and Jessica, obviously, you heard a lot of that reaction from the former president there, really just anger at the fact that the judge is moving ahead with that date and did not grant any more of a delay to this case starting here on April 15th.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Yes. No question, some of that anger also coming from the fact that these cases cut to the core of his identity as a businessperson.

Let's bring in Daniel Dale.

Because, Daniel, you we're listening as the former president was answering questions from reporters.

And part of what stood out to you was his repeated attack on Judge Arthur Engoron and the specific mention that Letitia James, the attorney general in New York, is somehow controlling him and that he is undervaluing Trump properties.

Walk us through a fact check of what he said about the judge.

DANIEL DALE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Well, he kept calling the judge crooked and corrupt. And I think we're so used to Donald Trump calling lots of people crooked -- Crooked Hillary, Crooked Joe -- that it's sort of faded into the background as standard political rhetoric.

But here he is on national television making a specific allegation of corruption against more obscure figures, certainly, not a national political candidate, calling a judge corrupt with precisely zero evidence.

He's presented not a shred of anything to corroborate this claim that this is a crooked or corrupt judge. It seems like he's unhappy with the judge's rulings. And therefore, in his mind, he's corrupt. But there's nothing there. So I think that's important to say.

And then he again continued to say that these are all Biden trials. All of my trials or Biden trials.

There is no evidence even that Joe Biden had any role in bringing the two federal prosecutions that were brought by special counsel, Jack Smith, let alone the two prosecutions brought by local district attorneys over whom the president has zero jurisdiction.


So in all four of these cases, there is no factual basis to call these Biden trials. Of course, he's said it before and he'll keep saying it.

DEAN: Yes. Thank you so much, Daniel.

And just to remind everyone, Judge Engoron, at one point, saying, over the last several months, there's enough evidence in this case to fill this courtroom.

All right. We're going take a quick break. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Breaking news into CNN. We've been following a big day for Donald Trump in court on two fronts. First, in his civil fraud trial, an appeals court deciding to lower the amount of bond that the former president should pay and extending the amount of time that he has to pay for it by 10 days.


And then secondly, in the hush money payments case --


DEAN: A criminal --

SANCHEZ: A criminal case.

DEAN: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Important to point out.

This is the case that alleges that the former president committed fraud by moving money around -- financial fraud, moving money around in order to compensate his former attorney, Michael Cohen, for paying off an adult film star during the 2016 campaign.

Today, the trial was supposed to start. A judge deciding to move it back 30 days. Trump's attorneys wanted to push it 90 days. Instead, they've decided that trial will start on April 15th.

So a big day for the former president in court. We just heard from him a slew of falsehoods there.

DEAN: Yes. And it's -- there's a lot of moving parts so we have brought in the experts to help us kind of dissect it all.

Here with us now is CNN's Carrie Cordero and CNN anchor and former federal prosecutor, Laura Coates.

There -- I'm trying to keep it straight for everyone, because you have the civil case that we've been talking about and the criminal case. There are other cases, but let's put those in a different bucket for right now.

Carrie, talk first about he said, no -- no one should be prosecuting him, and he should not be on trial during a presidential election. And yet, it appears that is going to happen. And do they have the right to do that?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We'll, it is. I mean, these cases, both the civil case and the criminal case being brought by the New York D.A., those cases are irrelated, unrelated to the political calendar.

They've been investigated for years. And the New York D.A. case, I mean, those facts, in my judgment, has been pretty stale. That case has been going on for over eight years now. The facts of the case are eight years old.

The investigation was conducted for many, many years before they finally decided to bring the actual charges.

And those cases are where they're at. And really, the former president caught a bit of a break today in both the civil and the criminal cases.

On the civil side, having the bond reduced to an amount that is more manageable and -- and I think doesn't put his properties at risk in the immediate future.

And in the civil case, having a few more weeks for his defense team to be able to look at the new documents that they've received and continue to prepare to defend him in that case.

SANCHEZ: Laura, let's talk about the detail in the judge's decision on the hush money payments case.

Essentially, what happened is that the legal teams got, like, 100,000 pages-plus of new documentation based on Michael Cohen's investigation and what investigators found when they were looking at -- at his case.

And when they received them, the defense pointed to the prosecutors and said there's evidence in there that is exculpatory. We need 90 days to look at this stuff.

The defense (sic) pointed to them and said you actually waited a long time to ask for these documents, they're not exculpatory, and you're just doing this to keep delaying things. The judge sided with the prosecution.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Boris, you now have a J.D. Congratulations.



COATES: You have accomplished I am by the codes.


COATES: I'm going to say, I'm really --


COATES: You're absolutely right on this. And here's why it's so important. First of all, today is really about unpacking and compartmentalizing two separate things.

Number one, it's the federal government, the federal prosecutors and state prosecutors. This is important for this reason. What the federal prosecutors and the SDNY did was not provide documents to the state prosecutors in a timely manner to then hand over to Donald Trump's team.

That's important to this judge because, if you're going to punish the trial team, the state prosecutors, it has to be essentially their fault. They didn't have possession of these documents. The government and the federal side did, but they're separate entities, number one.

Also, the unpacking here is important because he's talking about this being Biden trials. These are state prosecutions, state-level prosecutions.

Not only had the DOJ handed the cases to Special Counsel Jack Smith, but D.A. Alvin Bragg, the NY A.G. Letitia James are not under the umbrella org chart at all of when Donald -- of President Biden. Nor would they be if Donald Trump were he the president of the United States.

But ultimately, the prosecution always has a duty, an obligation to handover documents because, if the one time really they have to say, here are all the reasons you might actually be innocent of a crime.

We have a burden of proof to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt, but it's our duty and obligation knowing the weight that comes with United States versus or New York versus against an individual defendant or litigant.

You have to handover documents. It was delayed. They have a right to review them. But the judge said, hold on a second, this is not a 90- day or a six-month thing, especially it wasn't an intentional act of withholding.

You have enough time as the average person and a team of litigators to go over different things. And that's how much time they have.

Now, it could be there are really good nuggets in those documents for them to use in the aiding in their defense. But until the trial comes, we have no way of knowing that.

DEAN: And, Carrie, so now we look to April 15th for this criminal case when we're now slated to start. What does putting a jury together look like in that case?


CORDERO: Well, really, any case that is involving the former president is presenting certain challenges. And so I would expect that the New York D.A.'s office, they're going to have to function as much as they can in a way that is fair, that doesn't give any special treatment to the former president.

But at the same time, they have to put a jury together. I mean, there is no question that whether it's this case or the future federal cases, if those ever go to trial before the election, that any jury is going to be aware of who the defendant is, and the prosecutors will have to work through that piece.

I do think it is somewhat unfortunate for the country really that the New York D.A. case, with respect to the subject matter at are of that case and it being about these payments for activity that was prior to when he was president, I think it's unfortunate that that's the first criminal case going to trial.

Given the gravity of the federal criminal cases, both the January 6th- related cases and the classified documents case, that really have serious national consequences.

SANCHEZ: Laura, quickly, your reaction to the question of the gravity of these cases?

COATES: Well, I think that a criminal case against the former president is going to be very serious, nonetheless. I do note the idea of the timing of this case.

But in some respects, one could argue this could have gone a long time ago. Doesn't mean the fact that it's a little bit before the new cases, it's any less important.

But certainly, I think Trump is fighting this because he understands the importance of this case. And while the Supreme Court arguments he made about immunity and otherwise would not apply to these actions as a pre-presidential conduct.

But Alvin Bragg has gotten a lot of heat about being first. But you could also say to them -- say that argument, well, Jack Smith, special counsel, Merrick Garland as attorney general of the United States, why didn't you go sooner in a lot of these cases.

That's been thrown right back in their faces by Donald Trump, by a lot of his supporters. It suggests you've got nothing there because you waited too long, wringing your hands or otherwise.

And so Alvin Bragg has had some speed with his case. Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis similarly as we'll.

And so if you're going to argue that it's slowed down the process, well why wasn't this brought sooner against him? And all the cases. That's a huge question as we'll.

DEAN: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Laura Coates, Carrie Cordero, appreciate the perspective, ladies. Thank you so much.

Let's discuss Trump paying this bond now with an attorney who specializes in enforcing judgments, Bernard D'Orazio. Bernard is the principal attorney at Bernardo D'Orazio and Associates.

Thanks so much for being with us.

You say that New York attorney general, Letitia James, has many options. But now that she knows that former President Donald Trump has another 10 days to put up a fraction of the bond he was originally set to, what do you think she's doing today with the case?

BERNARD D'ORAZIO, JUDGMENT ENFORCEMENT ATTORNEY: Well, the effect of the court order is to stop her in her tracks. There's a stay that precludes her from enforcing the judgment.

So as of today, she can take no action. If Trump and the other defendants fail to post the bond within 10 days, then the stay would lapse and she would be free to go forward. But right now, she stopped.

SANCHEZ: So the attorney general, she issued a statement saying that, quote, "Donald Trump is still facing accountability. The $464 million judgment plus interest against Donald Trump and the other defendants still stands."

How do you think the appeals court decision might affect the timeline of that accountability that she's promising?

D'ORAZIO: Well, the effective of the stay, let's assume that they do post the bond within the 10 days, will be to preclude judgment enforcement for the entirety of the appellate process.

And under New York law, that could include a further appeal after the mid-level appeals court, the appellate division rules, all the way up to the top court in Albany, the court of appeals. So you could be looking at a state here of more than a year.

SANCHEZ: I'm wondering what you make of former President Trump repeatedly claiming that he has the cash to pay off the bond, both when it was at $464 million and now when it's down to $175 million.

And his attorneys sort of coming up and cleaning up after him. I can't imagine that that's something you've seen typically from folks that are in that position.

D'ORAZIO: Well, we're talking about an extraordinary situation, a judgment of this amount, the former president of the United States, cetera.

Appellate bonds are the way you normally get a stay of enforcement of a judgment pending appeal.

The discretionary state is an option. In this case, the appellate court, for reasons that are not explained, and they rarely would explain it, typically wouldn't, has decided to modify that bond to make it more likely that he could qualify for the bond.

We're left to guess what the court's internal reasoning was. But in the end, it doesn't matter. He's obtained the stay, on condition he gets the bond.


SANCHEZ: Bernard D'Orazio, got to leave the conversation there. Very much appreciate your perspective.

D'ORAZIO: Thank you. SANCHEZ: Of course.

Still to come on NEWS CENTRAL, does Boeing need a new leader to fix the problems the company is facing? One man apparently thinks so. The company's current CEO, he's stepping down at the end of the year. We'll discuss what other changes are coming when we come back.


SANCHEZ: A major shakeup to tell you about at Boeing. CEO Dave Calhoun says he will step down by the end of the year. This, of course, comes after a string of issues we've seen with Boeing planes.

DEAN: Most recently, that terrifying incident in early January when a door plug blew off a Boeing 737 Max-9 plane midair during an Alaska Airlines flight and it left that gaping hole in the side of the plane with 177 people on board.

CNN's aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean, is joining us now.


Pete. Why is he resigning now?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is really interesting. And the timing here is so critical because this comes after there have been all of these calls for a shakeup at Boeing.

The only person to get the axe before this was the head of the 737 Max line, which many saw as a scapegoat. And now CEO Dave Calhoun is leaving, along with Larry Kellner, the board chair, as well as Stan Deal, the head of Boeing commercial airplanes.

Remember, Dave Calhoun became Boeing CEO after the two 737 Max crashes of 2018 and 2019. And 346 people killed. Nobody died in the January 5th Alaska airlines door plug blowout. But it exposed a huge quality control issue at Boeing.

Calhoun said this in his message to employees, quote, "As you all know, the Alaska Airlines flight 1282 accident was a watershed moment for Boeing. We must continue to respond to this accident with humility and complete transparency."

There is some surprise in the aviation community that Calhoun is not leaving immediately. His resignation takes hold at the end of the year.

But Calhoun notes, there are these investigations taking place, not only the NTSB investigation that found Boeing workers did not re- install the door plug bolts of the factory in Renton, Washington.

But also the FAA audit of Boeing quality control and a Department of Justice investigation to see if passengers on that flight may have been victims of a crime.

The timing is telling. And just last week, Boeing reported a financial loss, a huge financial loss in the first quarter. Boeing has lost some confidence of its major customers. Alaska Airlines wants compensation. United Airlines says its new plane orders are in limbo.

The saying in corporate America is the buck stops at the top. But in this case, really the money is talking, too.

DEAN: Just laid it all out there.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And it could potentially be a heck of a lot of money.

Pete Muntean, thanks so much for the update.


SANCHEZ: So next, a defiant Benjamin Netanyahu he says he is no longer sending a high-level Israeli delegation to Washington, warning that he will not change his mind about invading Rafah. The latest on this tense relationship he has with president, Joe Biden, when we come back.