September 29, 2022

Trump: Dual legal blows hammer ex-President

7 min read


A day of double legal strikes weakened. Former President Donald Trump War to avoid criminal proceedings for Collection of confidential documents And left it exposed Possible civil penalties Targeting the business wealth on which his political mystique is built.

Trump’s lifelong ability to thwart accountability is now facing its toughest test yet. The investigation And there is evidence against it. Trump has not been charged with a crime, but his mastery of delaying legal and judicial proceedings and twisting procedural knots is making serious headway.

Two major developments on Wednesday rattled Trump’s legal teams, which were already battling. Serious investigation on multiple fronts.

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James made a surprising revelation A 200-page civil lawsuit which alleged that the Trump family’s empire was built primarily on years of self-indulgence and self-enrichment by defrauding lenders, insurers and tax authorities and ignoring laws that apply to every American. James is seeking $250 million in allegedly ill-gotten funds and sanctions that would adversely affect the Trump Organization’s ability to do business and effectively put the former president and his family out of town. They will expel the one who made their name. Still, the case is a civil one and while James referred the evidence to the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department, she could not press criminal charges. Trump responded with strong denials of wrongdoing and claimed he was the victim of a “witch hunt.”

See Trump’s reaction to the New York attorney general’s lawsuit

  • I An important decision In the case of highly sensitive material that Trump took to his Mar-a-Lago resort, an appeals court Justice Department handed over the victory By allowing him to view documents marked as classified that were seized by FBI agents during a search last month. Three judges, including two appointed by Trump, ruled that the public has a strong interest in ensuring that retaining its content does not cause “extraordinarily serious harm to national security.” Given Trump’s record of trying to delay the investigation against him as long as possible, he could try another legal tactic but is running out of options, with one of his remaining options being the US Supreme Court. I have an urgent request.

Both developments appear to have increased Trump’s potential legal exposure, now evident in at least three separate dramas involving an alleged attempt to steal the 2020 election in a key swing state in Georgia. Investigations are included. The former president has denied wrongdoing on all accounts.

But the deepening crisis for Trump also came on a day when the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6, 2021, formally announced the first impeachment hearing for next week. The panel is yet to decide whether to recommend criminal action against the former president. The Justice Department already has its own separate grand jury investigation into his false election fraud claims and the events leading up to the attack on the US Capitol by mobs of his supporters.

The darkening legal storm for Trump also reinforces the unusual prospect of a former president facing possible criminal prosecution and serious civil penalties that could significantly jeopardize his fortunes. Much of Trump’s initial political appeal is based on the idea that he is a highly successful tycoon who has built highly profitable businesses and amassed a personal fortune. If it turns out that it’s all a scam and that his career is a house of cards built on illegal activities, his narrative will absorb a severe hit — though it’s unlikely his core will. Never enough to shake his appeal to voters.

Trump’s latest legal reprimand comes as he considers a 2024 presidential campaign, which he has already signaled will be built on his claims that he is being politically manipulated by Democrats. is being persecuted, and has already clearly warned of torture if he is formally indicted.

The civil suit filed by New York state against Trump represents the most extensive catalog of the former president’s business practices to date and also targets his three adult children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric. , who is deeply involved in the Trump Organization.

It alleges a staggering pattern of overvaluation of properties and assets. Trump’s real estate portfolio, his hotel and golf club empires.. The purported purpose of several schemes was to deceive lenders, insurance brokers and tax authorities in order to get better loan terms and reduce his tax liability. James alleges that each certification was personally signed by Trump and directly contributed to the false valuations. In one case in his claim, James said Trump downsized his Trump Tower apartment from 11,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet for $327 million. In another case, he claimed that Trump repeatedly inflated the price of the organization’s office building at 40 Wall Street.

“It’s a very big complaint, it’s a strong complaint, it’s loaded with facts and it’s very serious. And so Donald Trump and the others named in the complaint are trying to respond and challenge it and will have their day in court to challenge it,” Jeffrey Berman, a former US attorney for the Southern District of New York, told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

“That’s great.”

Any regular citizen who allegedly committed such acts would have the book thrown at them, James said. He argued that not pursuing the case would mean there would be two systems of justice, one for working people and one for the rich and powerful.

“There can’t be different laws for different people in this country or in this state,” James said.

His remarks take direct aim at the ego behind Trump’s entire political narrative — that he’s an outsider fighting for everyday Americans against a system that favors the elite.

The penalties James is seeking against Trump in what is likely to be a lengthy case have the potential to severely limit the ability of businesses to operate, particularly in the US financial capital.

“She’s seeking what corporate lawyers call a corporate death penalty, which would be a certification of the Trump Organization so that it can no longer even do business in New York,” CNN legal analyst Paul Callan told Anderson Cooper. can do”.

“If the AG wins the case, it’s a very serious penalty.”

See New York AG’s announcement of legal action against Trump

In a sign that defending Trump could be a difficult task, James said he repeatedly asserted his Fifth Amendment right against crime. In a civil case, the prosecution, as opposed to a criminal, has the right to specify an adverse consequence for such a step.

James, a Democrat, went out of his way to insist that there was no political motivation behind his case and that other corporations have faced similar condemnations.

But James has created few opportunities for Trump to accuse him of political bias. He publicly stated before taking office that he believed the then-president could be indicted. And Trump’s almost mocking use of the slogan while unveiling the lawsuit looked somewhat triumphant. “Claiming money you don’t have is not the same as the ‘art of the deal,'” he said. “It’s the art of stealing.”

Trump quickly responded to the lawsuit by calling her a witch – his well-worn tactic to dismiss any attempt to force her to face accountability. Trump may try to argue that his business is adopting the same business practices as others in New York and that he is being unfairly singled out as a former president and potential future candidate.

Still, evidence uncovered in the lawsuit could spill over into unexpected directions in other jurisdictions — even if it doesn’t result in a criminal case against the Trump Organization — threatening the financial stability of the business.

The Justice Department’s win in the 11th Circuit represents another legal blow for Trump as it hits the perception that he is protected by classified information laws.

The appeals court only partially stayed a lower court’s decision to block the DOJ’s review of 100 classified documents taken from Mar-a-Lago, which officials say are government property and U.S. intelligence sources. And can expose methods and even hold secret US assets. Threat Abroad The ruling also overturned an argument by Trump’s legal team that the former president had disclosed the documents as president.

Attorney Breaks Down Why Trump Couldn’t Reveal Documents ‘Thinking About It’

“There is no evidence in the record that any of these records were declassified. And before the Special Master, Plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents. What was classified,” the ruling said, referring to the third-party official appointed by the lower court to look at the documents searched.

Nick Ackerman, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said on CNN Wednesday that the 11th Circuit had damaged Trump’s case, expressing doubt that the Supreme Court would take the case forward if it got to that point. went.

“Donald Trump had no legitimate interest in classified documents. There’s no way he had a right to access or see this information. That’s really the basis of this whole opinion,” he said.

As always when Trump faces legal threats, the question is whether he will face a political price.

The former president spent years trying to discredit any institution, including the courts. He calls them bigoted, corrupt and instruments of liberal persecution. She has also targeted James in particular, accusing him of racism against her. Such misogyny is now a staple of his brand of politics. At rallies, he tells supporters that he is willing to endure persecution to save them.

It is very unlikely that the former president will be based on him. Still, more damaging allegations of Trump’s behavior are unlikely to help his already low standing with general election voters who voted him out of office in 2020. And the pressure of another serious legal threat can’t help but weigh on his mind as he contemplates another. Running the White House.

However, the fact that sitting presidents enjoy protections against criminal prosecution may now appear even more attractive to Trump. And if he doesn’t run in 2024, it will be harder for the former president to claim that he is being politically victimized.

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