No announcement yet.

NY Civil Lawsuit & Criminal Trial Against Donald Trump & Family

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • TopHatter
    Judge in Trump's New York fraud trial explains why there's no jury

    Former President Donald Trump did not request a jury for his New York civil fraud trial, but even if he had asked for one, the answer would've been "no," a judge said Wednesday.

    Judge Arthur Engoron addressed an issue that had been the subject of speculation on social media and by Trump himself, saying it "keeps coming up," even though he doesn't "read the papers or go online to read about" the trial.

    Engoron is presiding over the bench trial of a $250 million lawsuit filed in 2022 by New York Attorney General Letitia James, in which she accused Trump, two of his sons, their company and other executives of years of widespread fraud. Engoron said that in paperwork certifying that the case was ready for trial, James' office checked a box suggesting it be a non-jury proceeding.

    Trump's team had 15 days to oppose that, but did not, Engoron said, because there was no point in doing so.

    "It would not have helped to make a motion. Nobody forgot to check off a box," Engoron said.

    "Equitable" versus "legal" remedy

    Engoron said the punishment being sought by the state is an "equitable" remedy, as opposed to a "legal" remedy.

    A legal remedy is an award for damages, which can be determined by a jury. Earlier this year, a federal jury awarded the writer E. Jean Carroll $5 million in damages after finding Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation. The damages were not an amount Trump took from her, but rather a sum the jury concluded might remedy the emotional, physical and reputational harm Trump had caused.

    In the ongoing New York fraud case, the state is seeking $250 million in disgorgement, a kind of equitable remedy that is a clawback of ill-gotten gains — the amount of benefit that the state says Trump and the co-defendants personally received from alleged fraud. Authorities cannot ask a jury to make that kind of calculation.

    "That leaves it up to the judge," Engoron said.

    Engoron earned the gratitude of one Trump lawyer who has insisted the lack of a jury was not due to an oversight.

    "I would like to say thank you, your honor," said attorney Alina Habba, before turning to reporters in the gallery. "Press, did you hear that? I didn't forget to check the box."


    Oh my god

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Is Mar-a-Lago worth $1 billion? Trump's winter home valuations are at the core of his fraud trial

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — How much is Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago worth? That's been a point of contention after a New York judge ruled that the former president exaggerated the Florida property's value when he said it's worth at least $420 million and perhaps $1.5 billion.

    Siding with New York's attorney general in a lawsuit accusing Trump of grossly overvaluing his assets, Judge Arthur Engoron found that Trump consistently exaggerated Mar-a-Lago's worth. He noted that one Trump estimate of the club's value was 2,300% times the Palm Beach County tax appraiser's valuations, which ranged from $18 million to $37 million.

    But Palm Beach real estate agents who specialize in high-end properties scoffed at the idea that the estate could be worth that little, in the unlikely event Trump ever sold.

    “Ludicrous,” agent Liza Pulitzer said about the judge citing the county’s tax appraisal as a benchmark. Homes a tenth the size of Mar-a-Lago on tiny inland lots sell for that in the Town of Palm Beach, a wealthy island enclave.

    “The entire real estate community felt it was a joke when they saw that figure,” said Pulitzer, who works for the firm Brown Harris Stevens.

    “That thing would get snapped up for hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Rob Thomson, owner of Waterfront Properties and a Mar-a-Lago member. “There is zero chance that it’s going to sell for $40 million or $50 million.”

    In the ongoing trial over the lawsuit, though, what a private buyer might pay for a place like Mar-a-Lago isn't the only factor in determining whether Trump is liable for fraud.


    The 126-room, 62,500-square-foot (5,810-square-meter) mansion is Trump’s primary home. It is also a club, private beach resort, historical artifact and banquet hall with a ballroom that features gold leaf. It is where Trump stored government documents federal prosecutors say he took illegally after leaving office in 2021.

    While Trump has long admitted using “truthful hyperbole” in his business dealings, he is not exaggerating when he calls Mar-a-Lago unique.

    Built in 1927 by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her second husband, financier E.F. Hutton, she gave the property its name — Spanish for “sea-to-lake” — because its 17 acres (7 hectares) stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway.

    Post kept the mansion after the couple's divorce, using it to host opulent galas. In 1969, Mar-a-Lago was designated a National Historic Landmark.

    Post, who died in 1973, bequeathed the property to the U.S. government as a winter get-away for presidents, but Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter never used it. The government, citing the high upkeep costs, returned it to Post's foundation in 1981.

    The property fell into disrepair. Trump bought it in 1985 for about $10 million, the equivalent of $30 million today. He invested heavily in its refurbishment.

    By the early 1990s, however, Trump was in financial distress after several of his businesses flopped. He told Palm Beach town officials he couldn't afford the $3 million annual upkeep, and proposed subdividing the property and building mansions. The town rejected the plan.

    Negotiations continued and in 1993 the town agreed he could turn the estate into a private club, giving him cash flow he could use for maintenance. He built the ballroom, but signed away development rights.

    The agreement limits the club to 500 members — the initiation fee is $500,000 with annual dues of $20,000.

    Trump typically lives at Mar-a-Lago from October to May before summering in New Jersey.


    That's hard to say. The biggest problem is there are no comparable properties. No one builds mansions in Palm Beach like Mar-a-Lago anymore and those that did exist were demolished long ago, broken up or turned into a museum.

    Trump, in an April deposition, justified his belief that Mar-a-Lago could be worth $1 billion by comparing it to the price the Mona Lisa or a painting by Renoir would command — the ultra-wealthy will pay a premium to buy something that's one-of-a-kind.

    Eli Beracha, chair of Florida International University's Hollo School of Real Estate, agreed it's difficult to assess the value of any unique property. The fact that Trump owned Mar-a-Lago would likely increase its sale price.

    “Some people are going to argue that not everyone likes Trump — some people would actually pay less because of that. ... But the high bidder is probably going to be a person who buys it because it belonged to Trump,” Beracha said.

    Pulitzer said the rock-bottom price for Mar-a-Lago would be $300 million. Thomson said at least $600 million. If uber-billionaires got into a bidding war, they said, a sale of a billion dollars or more would be possible.

    The much smaller Palm Beach compound once owned by the Kennedy political dynasty sold for $70 million three years ago.


    The county gives Mar-a-Lago its current value for taxation of $37 million based on its annual net operating income as a club and not on its resale value as a home or its reconstruction cost. It is one of nine private clubs in the county taxed that way.

    Becky Robinson, the tax assessor's spokesperson, said that method is used because private clubs are so rarely sold or built, making it impossible to set their tax rates by comparing them to similar properties. Mar-a-Lago's property tax bill will be $602,000 this year, county records show.

    U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a South Florida Democrat, wrote the county saying if Trump claims Mar-a-Lago is worth $1 billion, he should be taxed accordingly. If Mar-a-Lago had a $1 billion assessed value, it’s property tax bill would be approximately $18 million.

    Robinson said the county bases its assessments on the law and its formulas, not the value owners claim.


    In her lawsuit against Trump, New York Attorney General Letitia James argued that Mar-a-Lago was one of multiple assets Trump overvalued in financial statements given to banks and others.

    On those statements, Trump valued Mar-a-Lago as high as $739 million — a figure James said ignored deed restrictions requiring the property to be used as a social club — not a private home. Her lawyers have argued that in his financial statements, Trump should have valued Mar-a-Lago the same way the county does, based on its club status.

    Trump's financial statements, the New York lawyers wrote, valued the club “based on the false and misleading premise that it was an unrestricted residential plot of land that could be sold and used as a private home, which was clearly not the case.”

    Trump's lawyers have said no trickery was involved, and that banks probably didn't rely on his financial statements anyway when determining whether to lend him money.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Monash View Post
    Man how I wish Trump had listed his flagship companies years ago. Imagine watching live images of his testimony on TV while at the same time a news ticker showing the stock price in real time ran across the bottom of the screen.
    Is it possible for shares to go into the negative?

    Leave a comment:

  • Monash
    Man how I wish Trump had listed his flagship companies years ago. Imagine watching live images of his testimony on TV while at the same time a news ticker is showing the stock price in real time across the bottom of the screen.
    Last edited by Monash; 07 Oct 23,, 04:32.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Trump Organization Exec Admits He Considered Fraud Part of the Job

    One of the witnesses in Donald Trump’s New York business fraud trial admitted Friday that he regularly committed tax fraud.

    Jeff McConney served as a Trump Organization executive from 1987 until February of this year. He was granted immunity in exchange for helping prosecutors, and has previously admitted to breaking the law to help company executives avoid taxes. On Friday, he shed even more light on what exactly that entailed.

    Andrew Amer, a lawyer for the New York state Attorney General’s office, asked McConney whether he had been asked more than once to help Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg commit tax fraud. McConney said yes.

    McConney also admitted that Weisselberg had told him to process a payroll check for Weisselberg’s wife so she could get Social Security benefits, even though she was not a Trump Organization employee.

    McConney has previously acknowledged he knew he was breaking the law. He testified Friday that he continued to commit fraud because Weisselberg was his boss, and McConney knew he would likely lose his job if he stopped obeying.

    McConney also admitted to helping fraudulently inflate the value of multiple Trump Organization real estate assets. One such property was the Seven Springs estate in Westchester, New York. Trump’s son Eric was planning in 2012 to develop the property for seven houses.

    The houses were valued at $161 million—how much they would be worth if they were immediately available. The Trump Organization did not take into account that the value would actually be lower in the present due to the years it would take to actually build the homes, the cost of building them, and the cost of marketing them.

    McConney continued to value the homes as producing a $23 million profit for the next three years. In 2015, the homes had not been built, and the Trump Organization instead donated the land rights to conservation, giving the organization the right to a hefty tax deduction.

    New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump and the Trump Organization in September 2022 for business fraud. She has accused him of dramatically inflating his net worth by lying about the value of his real estate holdings, including his Trump Tower apartment and his Mar-a-Lago resort.

    Trump has denied the charges, but he more or less admitted to fraud earlier this week. He insisted Tuesday that his organization’s financial documents were not the least bit fraudulent—but even if they were, he couldn’t be held responsible because it was up to the lenders and insurers to fact-check that.

    Oh man...

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Judge Kicks Reporters Out of Courtroom to Talk to Trump and AG

    A turbulent second day at Donald Trump's bank fraud trial in New York came to an equally puzzling end, when the judge unceremoniously kicked out all journalists from the courtroom to speak privately with the former president and Attorney General Letitia James.

    When one reporter asked whether the courtroom was being sealed, Justice Arthur F. Engoron did not respond. Instead, security personnel yelled at journalists to leave immediately.

    Trump, James, and their respective legal teams remained in the courtroom for more than 20 minutes before exiting.

    On his way out, Trump surprised everyone by stating that he will return to court Wednesday.

    “I'll be back tomorrow. Good day,” he said with a wave, before ducking into a side exit with his attorneys and Secret Service security detail.

    James refused to answer any questions on her way out, preventing the public from knowing what was going on inside.

    Earlier in the day, Engoron issued a gag order against Trump after he posted on his social media site, Truth Social, accusing one of Engoron's law clerks of having a relationship with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

    Someone just got bitch-slapped across the face and probably immediately shit his Depends.

    What's the matter Donald? Why aren't you "FIGHTING!!" ? Something wrong?

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    The dude just won;t STFU!
    "Consider this statement an order forbidding all parties from posting emailing or speaking publicly about any members of my staff,” Engoron said. “Failure to abide by this .. will result in serious sanctions."
    It's about goddamn time. Now let's see if Trump recognizes no-shit danger when he sees it.

    Unfortunately it's too late, Trump's supporters got the message. They'll go after the clerk and her family.

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    The dude just won;t STFU!

    Judge rebukes Trump after social media post attacking his clerk and bans parties from commenting on his staff

    From CNN's Lauren del Valle, Kara Scannell, Sabrina Souza and Jeremy Herb

    Judge Arthur Engoron sits before Tuesday’s proceedings. Dave Sanders/Pool/AP

    Judge Arthur Engoron rebuked Donald Trump after the former president attacked his clerk in a social media post on Tuesday and forbade the parties from making any future comments about his staff.
    "This morning one of the defendants posted on social media account a disparaging untrue and personally identifying post about a member of my staff. Although I have since ordered the post deleted and apparently it was, it was also emailed out to millions of other recipients," the judge said in court.
    "Personal attacks of any member of my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate and I will not tolerate them," the judge said.

    The judge then said all parties must not speak publicly about any members of the court staff.

    "Consider this statement an order forbidding all parties from posting emailing or speaking publicly about any members of my staff,” Engoron said. “Failure to abide by this .. will result in serious sanctions."

    Trump posted on Truth Social Tuesday attacking Engoron’s clerk, claiming she was a “girlfriend” to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, and showing a picture of the two of them together.

    “How disgraceful!” Trump wrote. “This case should be dismissed immediately.”

    It was not immediately clear there was a connection between Engoron’s clerk and Schumer beyond taking a photo.

    Monday, Trump also went after the clerk in his comments outside the courtroom, though he didn’t mention her by name.

    “And this rogue judge, a Trump hater. The only one that hates Trump more is his associate up there,” Trump said. “The person that works with him. She’s screaming into his ear almost every time we ask a question. A disgrace. It’s a disgrace.”

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    The Trump empire ... will fold like a stack of cards," says former prosecutor

    Republican frontrunner and presumptive 2024 presidential nominee Donald Trump faces as many as four upcoming criminal trials — but a civil case that could destroy his business in New York has leapt to the forefront this week.

    To some degree, the lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleging decades of fraudulent business practices has flown under the radar, perhaps because — unlike in the criminal cases Trump must face in New York, Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C. — there is no possibility of criminal convictions or a prison sentence.

    But all that changed last week when New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron issued a summary judgment against Trump and his co-defendants, ruling that the evidence of fraud was so overwhelming that a full trial was not necessary. If that decision stands, Trump will likely lose control of many of his most high-profile businesses. As a practical matter, his supposedly successful real estate empire may well lie in ruins.

    That could have all kinds of ripple effects. Trump may be deprived of easy access to funds he needs to pay his legal expenses, now estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars. His brand and public persona will be severely damaged. Part of his power over the MAGA cult comes from his self-presentation as a billionaire and a shrewd, ruthless deal-maker.

    Losing control of his trademark New York business ventures will likely cause Trump to suffer a severe narcissistic injury, whose long-term consequences are unpredictable. In the here and now, he is of course using the New York civil case to extract still more cash donations from his followers. This past weekend, Trump sent out this appeal for money:

    According to news reports, I will be attending the civil trial in New York tomorrow where an anti-Trump judge is attempting to bring down the Trump Organization and financially break me.

    Democrats are seeking to bring down the world-famous "Trump Tower" and impose what some are calling "the corporate death penalty" upon me.

    This will be the FIRST TRIAL in the Democrats' string of witch hunts designed to destroy our 2024 presidential campaign.

    The Left is hoping that if they can hurt me financially, that I will shut down my campaign and forever surrender our country to the radical Left Democrats and the Deep State.

    They want to take away my freedom, my finances, and harass my family.

    But they can never take away my resilience, my courage, and my determination to save this country.

    And I'm certainly not alone in this fight…

    …Millions of patriots have also declared that they will NEVER SURRENDER our country to the Left – and will peacefully defend our movement until Election Day 2024 when we win back the White House and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

    Trump is a master propagandist, and a dictator in waiting. His claims in the above fundraising email, and more generally, are lies and gross distortions of facts and reality.

    In an attempt to make better sense of Trump's New York civil case and what Justice Engoron's summary judgment means for his future criminal trials, America's democracy crisis and what may happen next, I recently spoke with longtime attorney and author Kenneth Foard McCallion. He is a former Justice Department prosecutor who also worked for the New York attorney general's office as a prosecutor on Trump-related racketeering cases. McCallion's books include the companion pieces "Profiles in Courage in the Trump Era" and "Profiles in Cowardice in the Trump Era," as well as "Treason & Betrayal: The Rise and Fall of Individual-1." This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

    Given all the legal developments surrounding Trump in recent weeks and months, especially the summary judgment in New York, how are you feeling? How do you make sense of all this?

    I'm feeling better and more confident about the legal system, which has been a long time coming in bringing Trump to justice. But finally, things seem to be picking up pace, and the summary judgment motion and decision in New York was outstanding, really a model of clarity. The other Trump decisions, particularly the D.C. court decision by Judge Chutkan regarding her non-recusal, were also excellent. The decisions slapping down Trump and his lawyers for the frivolous motions that they've made have become essential elements in the protection of our modern judicial system in this country.

    The central premise of our legal system is that the law applies equally to everyone and does not exempt the rich and powerful. Trump probably should have been brought to justice a lot sooner, but better late than never. Trump's wealth and power certainly did give some prosecutors pause, and of course they wanted to make sure that they had a rock-solid case against him before filing their charges. The investigations have been far too long in coming, but now the moment of truth is upon us, and all the charges against Trump appear to be well grounded in fact and supported by the evidence.

    Trump is facing multiple legal challenges in both civil and criminal courts, and there is a window of opportunity to have these legal proceedings move forward. Hopefully Trump will be held accountable before next year's election season is in full bloom.

    At what point do Trump's attorneys and other advisers tell him that he is in serious trouble and may go to prison? Has that already happened?

    Some of Trump's lawyers have tried to have that very conversation with him and were fired. Trump is basically now surrounded by a collection of legal sycophants who are telling him what he wants to hear so that they can continue to stay on this high-profile legal team. But there will come a point in time where Trump will be in the courtroom and a judge or a jury will be deciding his fate. I believe that one or more of these proceedings will lead to a guilty verdict and then sentencing. Trump is self-deluded to a large extent, but he most certainly is not stupid. Trump is like a fox who is ultimately cornered by the hounds, and only then will he will try and cut a deal to avoid spending time in prison.

    Obviously, Trump, if convicted, would be sentenced to a gilded cage of sorts, be it in Mar-a-Lago or somewhere else. There are federal and state prisons for certain classes of inmates such as Trump. What Trump really fears is not so much being imprisoned, but the fear of conviction itself and public humiliation. He must have some awareness of the serious legal predicament he is in at this point, but he has to try to maintain a tough public facade for as long as he can. Trump will hold out until the last possible moment and then he will take a plea deal or some other arrangement with the prosecution. But at this point Trump's ego won't let him do it — at least for another six months or so.

    How would you assess the quality of the attorneys who are willing to work with Trump, given his reputation and behavior? What is their decision-making process like? I have to imagine that the best attorneys would want to avoid Trump because of the potential stain on their reputations.

    Trump's legal team is not, for the most part, an A-list team. The best available former prosecutors and defense lawyers have declined to join the Trump legal team because they fear that the aroma of corruption emanating from Trump will engulf them too and their reputations will be permanently tarnished. Some of Trump's prior counsel — obviously, Rudy Giuliani, and others — are immersed in their own legal problems now. The calculation being made by Trump's current legal team is that they will advise him professionally on the process, they will file motions and they will attempt to avoid being held professionally responsible, meaning either sanctioned or disbarred. They will not cross that line, although Trump will certainly want them to. But ultimately, Trump's attorneys will be in the limelight, and there's nothing wrong with being a credible and honest defense lawyer.

    They will have to tell Trump, or it will become apparent to him, that he needs an exit strategy — and sooner rather than later. Trump and his team will try muddying the waters and engaging in legal kabuki theater for the next few months. But ultimately the day of reckoning will come in the New York proceedings, or in D.C. or Florida or Georgia, whichever may come first.

    Trump will be held responsible and convicted or criminally or civilly fined and held responsible, much like his corporations in New York, which are now going to be barred from doing business. In the end, the Trump empire, both the business as well as him personally, will fold like a stack of cards pretty quickly when the first jury returns its verdict against him. One of Trump's co-defendants in Georgia has already flipped and taken a guilty plea. More will follow. Trump's predicament will only get worse as time goes on.

    "Summary judgment" sounds like something out of a movie or TV show. What does that term actually mean as a practical matter?

    It is a very significant step in the civil legal process. Summary judgment means that the judge is deciding, and agreeing with the New York attorney general, that the case against Trump need not go to trial because the evidence on paper is so overwhelming that the legal issue of whether Trump and his companies acted irresponsibly is no longer a subject of reasonable factual dispute. The proper remedy is to have their certificates of incorporation revoked and to bar them from doing any further business in New York. In other words, you don't need a jury to decide a case when there are no real disputed issues of fact. When you have irrefutable evidence, like the attorney general has in New York regarding the factual claims, a judge can — and will — grant a summary judgment motion, which eliminates the need for a full jury trial.

    The evidence presented to Justice Engoron conclusively showed that Trump's misrepresentations of fact about the value of his buildings and properties went far beyond mere negligence. Trump is a very detailed hands-on person with his businesses. He is a real estate developer. He is not someone who can claim ignorance. The evidence showed that Trump purposely misrepresented the numbers in order to grossly increase the amount of the loans that he was getting from the banks, but then undervalued the same properties for tax purposes. The attorney general of New York is in a very good place right now. I would expect to see a very large award and judgment in favor of New York. I don't see any way that Trump, at this point, can avoid it.

    What explains Trump's ability to avoid consequences for decades when his alleged crimes were so obvious?

    The evidence has always been there, and some intrepid prosecutor could have taken this on much earlier. But these kinds of complex business crimes require a large amount of resources and expertise to investigate. The investigative journalists and forensic accounting experts deserve much credit for going through the laborious process of reviewing all the Trump Organization's public filings and tax returns. Then, when the banks were forced to turn over the loan applications from Trump to the attorney general, the New York County district attorney and others, the floodgates were opened. It was no longer just a question of tax fraud, since there was also evidence of substantial banking fraud. Things went downhill pretty fast for Trump after that.

    I come from the working class, so my first concern is about the regular folks who will be caught up in a court's decision to shut down Trump's businesses. What will happen to them?

    That's always a concern. I would expect that the likely procedure which has been followed in the past, and is followed by bankruptcy judges, is the appointment of a receiver who would protect the Trump assets and keep the payroll going while the assets are being liquidated in an orderly fashion. Hopefully, innocent employees will be protected in the process.

    What are some of the questions you want answered through these trials, given that you have faced Trump in court before as a prosecutor? I am very curious about the rumored connections, or in fact proven connections, between Trump's businesses and foreign money.

    I've written several books on the money laundering aspects of Trump's businesses. When Trump was basically banned by the large banks from any further loans and mortgages, this was right around the time when a lot of Russian and Eastern European money was looking for a home in the West. Therefore, it was an ideal time for Trump to start doing business with Russian oligarchs and others looking to park their cash in one or more of Trump's real estate projects. In fact, a significant percentage of the early purchases of the apartments in Trump Tower were cash deals involving Russian and Eastern European money looking for a safe place away from the prying eyes of the banking regulators.

    Back then, large cash purchases of real estate in the U.S. were not as closely scrutinized when they did not involve large bank transfers. And Trump was more than happy to close on apartment deals with either bags of cash being transacted, or money orders or other financial instruments being used to circumvent the need for wire transfers and the red flags they would generate. The Russian uber-rich purchasers could actually use the apartment, or might not. That wasn't the point of the purchase. The primary objective was to hold the property for a few years and then sell it. What might be questionable or dirty money would then be converted into clean money in New York. So it was a classic money laundering operation. Trump did the same with apartment buildings in the Miami area as well.

    Now that the actual business records of the Trump Organization's real estate transfers have finally come to light, the full picture can be seen, which is that the Trump Organization was largely an organized crime organization propped up by money of questionable origin, and that his real estate development projects were willingly used by Trump to facilitate huge money laundering operations.

    How would you assess Trump's criminal exposure from the civil fraud case in New York?

    Many executives do not have their fingerprints all over everything, and are able to use the "I didn't know what was going on" defense. Trump can't do that, since he is unable to distance himself from the criminal actions that took place on his watch. Trump compulsively scrutinized every detail and micromanaged every aspect of the real estate enterprises, especially when it came to the valuation of Trump Organization properties. Trump worked very hard at inflating his valuations — and reaped the financial benefits of that valuation fraud. But the downside for Trump is that his fingerprints are all over those valuations, and all over those loan applications. Trump is in a huge amount of trouble, and has a substantial amount of liability, both in the criminal and civil cases, which largely overlap. Civil proceedings would lead to monetary awards and judgments. The parallel criminal cases can also lead to fines, but also his inevitable incarceration, unless a deal is struck with the prosecutors before his sentencing. One or more of those prosecutions will be successful. It is just a question of time now, and the clock is ticking.

    What is this doing to Trump's ego and mind, to see his businesses destroyed?

    It is amazing to me that Trump has not had some type of emotional or mental breakdown by now. Trump certainly has to be given credit for his staying power. But there's a limit to every person, and even the strongest among us will eventually crack if tortured long enough, Trump will not be able to deny the reality of his perilous position much longer. The walls are quickly closing in on him. I would expect to see that, after another few months of public defiance, the pressure he is under will finally take its toll, both physically and psychically. Trump has a lot to worry about. He will keep making his public bombastic threats, but in the end he will not be able to act that way in court. Trump will have to sit there quietly and watch the evidence pile up against him, brick by brick, before a jury.

    How do you think Trump will behave during the trials? Will he act out? Will he turn them into a theatrical spectacle in order to cry victim and rally his followers? Or will it be an anticlimax where Trump is subdued and meek?

    Trump is not going to be able to disrupt the proceedings. If he does try to disrupt them, he will be put in another room or in a glass booth and forced to listen silently to the proceedings from there. It will not be "Trump theater" time. He will have to respect the rules or he will be physically removed from the proceedings. In any event, Trump's trials will be among the greatest legal spectacles in recorded history, but they won't be his spectacle. This will be a true inflection point for our country and all the world to see, as Trump is finally brought to justice.

    Where are we in the Trump saga, and what do you think comes next?

    Trump's fall from grace and power will be precipitous. The climax will be the trial and the jury verdict, which will come sooner rather than later.

    You seem much more hopeful than you were a few months ago. I am pleasantly surprised, even given the seriousness of these matters.

    I am feeling much more hopeful. Several months ago, when we began having our conversations, the Justice Department was floundering. It had been several years, with nothing happening with the investigation. Trump then shot himself in the foot by announcing that he was running for president. The following day a special counsel was appointed, and the rest is history. A real professional prosecutor went to work on Trump; there were no political prevarications. That move by the DOJ emboldened prosecutors on the state level. The prosecutors stepped up to the challenge and said, "Enough is enough." They now have mountains of evidence against Trump.

    The congressional hearings and investigation of Jan. 6 were also very helpful. The select committee report really was a blueprint for at least one of the criminal indictments of Trump. Finally something was happening, and Congress deserves much of the credit for putting the prosecutors to shame and forcing them to finally do their jobs.

    These prosecutors were just over-investigating and dithering on an extremely time-sensitive investigation. The 2024 election was approaching and the window of opportunity was rapidly closing. But now the wheels of justice are finally turning. Trump may never have to wear an orange jumpsuit with the "DOC" stamp on the back, but I'm quite optimistic that he will finally get his just deserts, in one form or another.

    "Trump's fall from grace and power will be precipitous."

    That's usually how it happens...That's exactly how it happened with Nixon. But, as the Zen Master said "We'll see".

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Trump’s Civil Trial Has No Jury Because ‘Nobody Asked’ for One, Judge Explains
    Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron said Monday it’s the former president's fault that the case is being tried without a jury

    Donald Trump has attacked the New York State Supreme Court judge presiding over his $250 million civil fraud trial as a Democratic “politician” on a quest to financially ruin him.

    But the judge on Monday noted that it’s the former president's fault that the case is being tried without a jury.

    Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron noted that “nobody asked for” a jury trial.

    Earlier this year, New York Attorney Letitia James filed a form with a checkmark next to the field: “Trial without a jury.”

    Trump’s legal team didn’t file a corresponding form, and the former president may have regretted his lawyer’s inaction ever since.

    Long before the trial, Engoron found Trump in contempt of court for discovery violations in the investigation that preceded the AG’s lawsuit. Last week, the judge found Trump, his family members and his business associates liable for a massive fraud and ordered the dissolution of Trump’s New York business empire, an action known as the “corporate death penalty.”

    Trump lashed out against him extensively at a makeshift press conference outside the courtroom, calling for Engoron to be “investigated for what he's done is undervaluing these properties.”

    Some commentary on Twitter or X or whatever Musk is calling his personal dumpster fire these days:

    "I had heard this rumor, and now the judge just confirmed it. It is mind-blowing. For Trump to have his fate in the hands of this judge, whom he has vilified, is malpractice by his lawyers and very ominous for him." ~ Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman

    "I honestly can't believe that any lawyer hired on such an important case could make this mistake. But I also can't think of any strategic reason you'd want a bench trial in front of a judge who just sanctioned your lawyers for making frivolous arguments." ~ Defense Attorney Andrew Fleischman

    Trump has long been known to cheat his lawyers (and pretty much any of his contractors) out of their fees, so he got a sub-par lawyer, and that means he gets sub-par representation.

    I'm not sure he can call this "malpractice", as it is less a case of not doing a good job, as a judgment call by the attorney as to which mode of adjudication will be serve his/her client.


    Because New Yorkers know Trump's history and are likely to award/fine/penalize etc a larger dollar amount that the State is asking

    Assuming of course its within their power to do so, I'm not terribly clear on that right now.

    (And boy oh boy does Trump look happy to be there.)

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Appeals court will not delay Donald Trump civil fraud trial

    NEW YORK, Sept 28 (Reuters) - A New York appeals court on Thursday refused to delay Donald Trump's scheduled Oct. 2 civil fraud trial, after the former U.S. president accused the trial judge of wrongly refusing to throw out most of the case.

    In a brief order, a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division, a mid-level appeals court in Manhattan, denied Trump's motion to postpone the trial.

    It also lifted a Sept. 14 order by Justice David Friedman to put the trial on hold while it considered Trump's motion. Friedman was part of Thursday's panel.

    The panel ruled two days after state court Justice Arthur Engoron found that Trump and his family business persistently and fraudulently overvalued his assets and net worth in order to obtain better terms on loans and insurance.

    Trump had been sued in September 2022 by state Attorney General Letitia James, who accused him, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others of "staggering fraud" in how they valued properties.

    James is seeking at least $250 million in penalties, a ban against Trump and his sons Donald Jr and Eric from running businesses in New York, and a five-year commercial real estate ban against Trump and the Trump Organization.

    Lawyers for Trump and the other defendants were not immediately available for comment. James' office had no immediate comment.

    The case is unrelated to the four criminal indictments that Trump faces, including for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

    Trump has pleaded not guilty to all, and cast litigation against him as part of a politically-motivated, Democratic witch hunt as he seeks a return to the White House. James is a Democrat.

    Despite his legal woes, Trump holds a commanding lead for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

    Tick tock....tick tock....

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

    Like many computer systems across the federal government the IRS is operating using an ancient software system. They have been trying to get funding for years but the GOP stands in the way. What started as a stonewalling under Bush turned into a strip mining under Trump. Grossly under resourced, under manned and under funded for the tasks at hand. And this is replicated across much of the federal government.

    The funding to help fix that is tied up in this years budget.
    I've read that the IRS has the most ancient software of any federal agency.

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    Originally posted by Monash View Post

    Biden was supposed to be giving them more funding. But even without that the kind of process I outlined should be fairly easy to automate.
    Like many computer systems across the federal government the IRS is operating using an ancient software system. They have been trying to get funding for years but the GOP stands in the way. What started as a stonewalling under Bush turned into a strip mining under Trump. Grossly under resourced, under manned and under funded for the tasks at hand. And this is replicated across much of the federal government.

    The funding to help fix that is tied up in this years budget.

    Leave a comment:

  • Monash
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

    Nope. As I've stated before, the IRS is a toothless old hound that deliberately does not go after the very wealthy. They simply don't have the resources, so they don't.

    Trump's criminality simply got too egregious to ignore once he became President.
    Biden was supposed to be giving them more funding. But even without that the kind of process I outlined should be fairly easy to automate.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Monash View Post
    I would have thought the IRS and State Tax agencies would have closed down this kind of behavior years ago i.e tax authorities base their assessments on either the assets/income statements provided by a taxpayer to lenders in applications for loans or the figures quoted in that same taxpayers official returns. Then simply issue an assessment based on whichever is figure is higher. Regardless I have to wonder if the IRS is going to start issuing disclosure orders on a lot more loan applications in future.
    Nope. As I've stated before, the IRS is a toothless old hound that deliberately does not go after the very wealthy. They simply don't have the resources, so they don't.

    Trump's criminality simply got too egregious to ignore once he became President.

    Leave a comment: