In Fund-Raising Blitz, Trump Warns Democrats: Hands Off Trump Tower

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Former President Donald J. Trump, with a deadline fast approaching to secure a roughly half-billion-dollar bond in his civil fraud case in New York or risk seizure of his assets and flagship properties, sent an email on Saturday morning to his campaign’s supporters.

The subject line — “Keep your filthy hands off Trump Tower” — was repeated at the start of the email in bold, italics and all caps, even as the message was clearly intended not for his backers but for New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who brought the case.

Mr. Trump told his supporters that Ms. James “wants to SEIZE my properties in New York,” adding, “THIS INCLUDES THE ICONIC TRUMP TOWER!” He then exhorted them to donate money to his presidential campaign as a show of strength against the web of legal troubles he faces, which he has broadly cast as a political witch hunt.

With the deadline for Mr. Trump to post an appeals bond on Monday, the Trump campaign has sent at least 10 similar fund-raising solicitations since Wednesday accusing Ms. James and Democrats of trying to seize Mr. Trump’s marquee property, Trump Tower.

Last month, a New York judge imposed a $454 million penalty on Mr. Trump in the civil fraud case after concluding that the former president had fraudulently inflated the value of his company’s properties and his net worth to obtain favorable loans and other benefits from banks.

Mr. Trump has appealed the judgment, and was given until Monday to either write a check to the state court system for the full amount or obtain an appeal bond. But his lawyers said last week that he had been unable to secure the bond, raising the prospect that Ms. James could move to collect the money and try to seize some of the properties involved in the case.

Ms. James, a Democrat, has signaled that she is prepared to do so, and Mr. Trump’s campaign has made that contention a focal point of its fund-raising emails. On Wednesday, in an email with the subject line “Hands off Trump Tower!,” Mr. Trump accused her of trying to “go after the ICONIC Trump Tower.”

In another email, Mr. Trump claimed that “maniacs” were trying to seize the property.

Trump Tower, which is on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, holds a central place in Mr. Trump’s celebrity and political rise. In 2015, he descended an escalator in the building to announce his first run for president.

In an email sent on Friday, Mr. Trump emphasized that centrality. “Our movement started on the golden escalator in Trump Tower!,” he wrote in all caps. “Now Democrats want to seize it!” In another message, on Thursday, he insisted that “Trump Tower is mine!” and accused Ms. James of being a “rabid Trump-hating Democrat.”

Mr. Trump repeatedly suggested in emails over the past week, as he often does on the campaign trail, that President Biden had coordinated Ms. James’s lawsuit, a baseless claim for which there is no evidence.

Mr. Trump has treated his legal woes, including four criminal cases and civil litigation, as political fund-raising opportunities, using them to tap his loyal base of donors. Last year, after the release of his booking photo from his indictment in Georgia, Mr. Trump raised $4.2 million online.

But the past week’s Trump-Tower-focused fund-raising blitz comes as the Trump campaign stares at a sizable cash gap with the Biden campaign. Mr. Biden and his joint operations with the Democratic Party reported having $155 million in cash on hand at the end of February. The Trump campaign said it had $42 million across its accounts, while the Republican National Committee reported another $11.3 million.

Last year, committees backing Mr. Trump spent at least $50 million on legal expenses, filings show. And in February, the political action committee that he has used to pay his legal fees spent nearly $5.6 million on bills to the legal teams defending him in court.

Those fees are likely to continue to rise. Mr. Trump also has a critical hearing on Monday in his Manhattan criminal case, in which he is accused of covering up a sex scandal involving a porn star during his 2016 campaign.

That trial was originally scheduled to start on Monday, which would have made it the first of the former president’s four criminal cases to proceed to trial. But it was delayed after the disclosure of more than 100,000 pages of records.

Monday’s hearing is being held to decide whether the trial should be delayed further, and to rule on Mr. Trump’s motion to dismiss the case based on the new documents.


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