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Trump and His Fans Are Not Happy with Judge Engoron's Decision

The decision by Judge Arthur Engoron to fine Donald Trump $355 million plus back interest for defrauding multiple banks in New York has not gone over well with Trump or his supporters. Trump called the decision a "total sham." He said the U.S. justice system "is under assault by partisan, biased judges and prosecutors." He called Engoron a "crooked judge" and said NY AG Letitia James is racist. Naturally, Trump started fundraising as a result of the decision. It's always about the grift.

The kids also chimed in. Donald Trump Jr. said the judicial system is politically motivated and the primary determinants of the outcome are "political beliefs" and the venue. Eric Trump called the ruling "a total joke" and "insane." Both of them were fined $4 million. Ivanka didn't have anything to say. She and young Jared have apparently decided to give up on politics and just spend their time getting rich off the Saudis' money.

On the other hand, Mary Trump took a different position. She said: "It has taken over half a century but Donald's ability to commit fraud with impunity has come to an end—at least in New York—and trust me, that matters to him."

Trump's lawyer, Alina Habba, who lost the case, didn't think the judgment would stick. She said: "I think the biggest message I can give the American people tonight is that [Engoron]'s not going to get away with it. Letitia James is not going to get away with it. The Biden administration is not going to get away with it." Maybe we missed something, but we thought this was a New York State case and the Biden administration had absolutely nothing to do with it. If this demonstrates her level of knowledge of the case, we can see why she lost it.

On the other hand, Habba is not just Trump's lawyer in the civil cases. She is also general counsel to Trump's Save America PAC and senior adviser to the MAGA Inc. super PAC. In these roles, part of her job is raising money. She knows that when she loses a case, that is great for fundraising. Talk about a conflict of interest.

Now Trump's supporters. Jonathan Turley wrote an op-ed piece for The Hill entitled: "Obscene award against Trump is testing the New York legal system's integrity." He complained that the award was greater than the gross national product of Micronesia, even though the banks didn't lose a single dollar. He also said that undervaluing and overvaluing property is a longstanding practice in New York real estate—in other words, all New York developers are criminals, so what's the big deal? Turley said the impact on New York businesses will be dire and they will all flee the state. He also noted: "The size of the damages is grotesque and should shock the conscience of any judge on appeal." We'll see about that within a couple of months.

And now, Whitewater lawyer Sol Wisenberg: "A $355 million disgorgement judgment when there is no victim and there is no loss, and there is no jury—here is the key here, you have an attorney general of the state of New York that ran on a Get Trump platform. She could not manufacture a criminal case, so she manufactured a civil fraud case, went to a jurisdiction where she got a Trump-hating judge who rendered this verdict... " There was indeed no jury—because there normally isn't in these sorts of cases, and Habba forgot to ask for special consideration. The jurisdiction was New York because that is where the crimes were committed and it was New York state law that Trump broke. The judge was selected at random, as usual.

Of course, talk is cheap and now Trump has to scrounge up half a billion dollars, give or take. So naturally, one of his supporters set up a GoFundMe account in an attempt to raise $355 million. If they reach that goal, Trump will still have to pay the back interest himself, but at least having his fans pay the $355 million will help. As of Monday morning, the account had $414,179 in it, so only $354,585,821 to go. Unlike fake Georgia elector Cathy Latham's account on GiveSendGo (which is stuck at $22,324 and 2,951 prayers), the page for Trump does not offer the possibility of online praying. It does allow people to offer words of support, though. Here is a small sample:

There were a few thousand more like this, but also a smattering of comments from people who gave $5 just to put in an anti-Trump comment.

Trump is not one to leave his fortunes in the hands of well wishers, so he is trying to raise some money himself by... selling sneakers at $399 per pair. He said: "This is something I've been talking about for 12 years, 13 years, and I think it's going to be a big success." Right, Trump's desire has always been to become a shoe salesman. Got it.

Trump's anger at the courts could have real consequences if he wins another term. In his first term, he got lists of potential judicial nominees from the Federalist Society. All of them were very conservative, but for the most part, they had the intellectual heft to be judges and justices. For example, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett went to law school at Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame, respectively. Most of his lower-court appointments also had strong résumés as well. Now that Trump is furious with the judicial system (and also the Federalist Society for giving him a bunch of judges and justices who are far too independent for his taste), in a second term he has said that next time around, he will pick loyalists, without regard to their academic or other qualifications. His former lawyer, Ty Cobb, said of Trump's first-term picks: "They were intellectually qualified for the most part to become judges. I don't think there's a chance that will be the case in a second term." In other words, knowledge of the law and faithfulness to the Constitution will take second place to willingness to rule as Trump wishes. (V)

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