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    Thursday, June 13, 2024

    Trump has only $6.8M available for legal fees, faces cash crunch

    Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as his trial continue at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

    Donald Trump spent $4.9 million on legal fees in March and has just $6.8 million left in the accounts he’s been using to fund his lawyers, setting him up for a cash crunch as his trial costs mount, according to campaign finance filings.

    That forces Trump, a criminal defendant in a trial underway in Manhattan, to find other sources of cash to defray the mounting costs of his court battles. Trump could seek to raise more money from donors, ask the Republican National Committee to cover the costs or pay for the fees from his own wealth. The RNC has said it won’t pay for Trump’s legal bills.

    Trump has so far been paying for lawyers from Save America, a leadership political action committee that can accept money from political donors. Save America has spent more than $62 million on legal fees since January 2023.

    Save America ended March with about $4 million cash on hand. It can also request Trump’s allied super-PAC to refund $2.8 million remaining from donations it received from Save America in 2022.

    Trump’s legal woes make him unlike any previous candidate for the presidency. In three separate trials, he’s already been found liable for sexual abuse, defamation and financial fraud tied to his asset valuations. He also faces four more prosecutions, including two alleging he conspired to overturn the 2020 presidential election. His first criminal trial, over charges he falsified business records to conceal a hush money payment to a porn actress before the 2016 election, began last week.

    Since securing the Republican nomination, Trump has been trying to narrow the financial advantage held by President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, whose combined $192 million war chest at the end of March is twice the size of his own. But his ongoing legal battles continue to drain his coffers.

    Trump’s allied super-PAC Make America Great Again Inc. raised $14 million and spent $6.3 million, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings. Campaign finance laws bar that group from directly funding Trump’s legal bills.

    Linda McMahon, who led the Small Business Administration in the first two years of Trump’s term, gave $5 million to MAGA Inc., while real estate and aerospace entrepreneur Robert Bigelow gave $4.2 million. The super-PAC also got $50,000 from the PAC of a New Jersey local of the International Brotherhood Electrical Workers union.

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