Get 40% Off
⚠ Earnings Alert! Which stocks are poised to surge?
See the stocks on our ProPicks radar. These strategies gained 19.7% year-to-date.
Unlock full list

Exclusive-Hotelier Robert Bigelow gives Trump $1 million for legal fees

Published 01/30/2024, 04:19 PM
Updated 01/30/2024, 06:01 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the courtroom after attending the Trump Organization civil fraud trial, in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., November 6, 2023. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

By Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) -Hotelier Robert Bigelow told Reuters on Tuesday he gave Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump $1 million for his legal fees and agreed to donate another $20 million to a pro-Trump outside group for campaign purposes.

"I gave him $1 million towards his legal fees a few weeks ago. I made a promise to give him $20 million more, that will be to the super PAC," the Nevada-based owner of Budget Suites of America said in an interview.

The commitments, which have not been previously reported, show some big money is coalescing around Trump, the runaway frontrunner to clinch the Republican presidential nomination to face Democrat Joe Biden in the November general election.

Bigelow's donations also highlight the unusual role some political donors are playing as Trump faces four pending criminal cases this year.

Those cases include two over his efforts to reverse his 2020 presidential election loss, one over his handling of classified documents upon leaving office and another over his hush money payments to a porn star.

Bigelow, who also founded Bigelow Aerospace and funds investigations into extraterrestrial life, said he felt Trump was being unfairly targeted in the criminal cases and that his sympathy towards the former president had motivated the donation.

"I was just sympathetic. They didn't solicit anything from me," Bigelow said. The $20 million would be spread out but "starts right away," he added.

The Justice Department says it acts without political bias.

All of Trump's Republican rivals, bar former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, have dropped out of the race, and Trump is all but assured of clinching the nomination.

Trump and his team have been seeking to peel wealthy benefactors away from Haley, making calls trying to convince donors to switch sides. Trump has gone so far as to warn the donors they would be banished from his orbit if they made further donations.

Bigelow initially backed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the Republican nomination, but dropped him in part over his strict anti-abortion policies.


For all of Trump's political success, however, his legal costs are rapidly mounting.

Trump was hit last week with an $83 million verdict in a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, and a judge is set to rule any day now on the New York Attorney General’s request for $370 million in penalties for his misrepresentations to banks about his net worth.

The New York Times reported earlier on Tuesday that pro-Trump groups spent some $50 million on legal bills and "investigation-related" expenses in 2023. Reuters was not immediately able to confirm that figure.

Bigelow said he could not remember the exact name of the entity to which he sent the $1 million, but Trump's Save America PAC has been an important vehicle for paying his legal fees. When asked whether he was considering donating more to help pay Trump's legal fees, Bigelow declined to comment.

Bigelow said he had dinner with Trump on Monday night at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves the courtroom after attending the Trump Organization civil fraud trial, in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., November 6, 2023. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

"It was supposed to be one hour. It was over two hours. And we still ran out of time," Bigelow said, declining to provide details of their conversation.

Bigelow said he was concerned about turmoil in the Middle East and felt confident in Trump's capacity to navigate crises given his 2017-2021 term in the White House.

Latest comments

Goog! Only $82,300,000 more to go. After that, maybe they consider paying Guilianni.
Bigelow got the money from russia. Nobody would stupid enough to give a future convict any money at all.
they are giving it to our next president. and just it time with the mess that Biden has caused
Yeah! Economy is a catastrophe! Traitor Biden.
Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.