ANALYSIS – In what is only the latest weaponized, partisan legal action against former President Donald Trump, the far-left Democrat New York state attorney Letitia James and her leftist cohort Justice Arthur Engoron have just found Trump guilty of civil fraud before his trial even began.
Never mind that the case is obscene to begin with and should not even exist. And the law it is based on is obscene as well and should not exist either. Andrew McCarthy explains in National Review:
James, an ambitious progressive authoritarian who campaigned for office on a vow to weaponize the Empire State’s legal processes against Trump, decided to package the scraps [of leftover fraud charges no one else could prosecute] into a lengthy civil complaint. After all, she had a secret weapon: New York’s Executive Law 65(12), which empowers an abusive prosecutor to put partisan enemies out of business without having to prove anything. Although this provision purports to outlaw “repeated” and “persistent” “fraud” and/or “illegality,” in reality, as I explained last week in a column for The Messenger:
“The law doesn’t require a showing of harm. The state need not prove the defendant even intended to defraud anyone, much less actually defrauded someone. It need not be established that any creditor or financial institution even relied on the defendant’s misrepresentations, that those misrepresentations were material, or that anyone was actually fooled by them. The state just has to show that a defendant made false claims with enough “persistence” and “repetition” that at least two persons were “affected” — which, whatever it means, is not a synonym for ‘harmed.’”
Claiming Trump significantly overvalued his properties and assets when presenting his company’s financials to banks and lenders and that this somehow “affected” someone, 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.
The accusations are that Trump inflated the value of assets by $1.9 billion to $3.6 billion annually between 2011 and 2021 to save hundreds of millions on loans and insurance.
This, even though no one has been claimed to have been harmed, and all financial institutions take self-declared valuations like those made by Trump, with a grain of salt when making loans and other major financial decisions.
Bankers and insurance executives have a fiduciary obligation to conduct their own due diligence to determine what they believe are fair market valuations of assets. And they always do.
And as McCarthy further explains, everyone involved knew Trump exaggerated just about everything:
…this was for political consumption and the burnishing of celebrity. In the league of sophisticated financial actors in which Trump plays, where corporate departments are dedicated to valuation analysis because that’s the bread-and-butter of finance, nobody took this nonsense seriously. Indeed, Trump even included a “worthless clause” in his SFCs which, in so many words, warned that they were apt to be, you know, somewhat less than perfectly accurate. Many of the financial institutions that did business with Trump did so for years, and knew exactly the cat they were dealing with. They made loans and indemnified Trump because they knew, based on their own expertise and experience with him, that he was quite wealthy (even if not as wealthy as he claimed) and that he would pay up.
But that didn’t stop Justice Engoron, who ruled preemptively on September 26 that James had proven Trump and his co-defendants fraudulently inflated his assets.
Engoron, in his ruling, ordered the cancellation of certificates that 10 of Trump’s business entities need to operate some of his marquee properties — including Trump Tower and his golf clubs in New York — and said he would appoint independent receivers to oversee their “dissolution.”
The judge thus essentially imposed the corporate death penalty on Trump’s businesses BEFORE the trial even began.
Trump responded in a post on his Truth Social platform the day of the ruling, calling accusations that he committed fraud “ridiculous and untrue,” and hit back, calling Engoron a “DERANGED” judge.
In this case, I must agree with Trump’s wording. The judge is deranged, but he is also a partisan hack and embarrassment in what is already a highly partisan and embarrassing New York judicial system.
Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of Great America News Desk.