The story below is one of the things that makes me wonder about the future of America. Somehow we have lost the concept of equal justice under the law and many legal actions have become totally political.
On Tuesday, The Washington Examiner reported the following:
A POLITICIZED, GROSSLY UNFAIR LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP. Former President Donald Trump testified Monday at the trial of the lawsuit, filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleging that Trump inflated the values of his real estate properties to receive lower interest rates on loans. It’s important to note that Trump has already lost the case. The judge, Arthur Engoron, weeks ago pronounced Trump guilty of the actions alleged, and what is going on now in court is the penalty phase, in which Engoron will decide whether to confiscate Trump’s business empire.
The punishment will be extraordinary and unprecedented. This is how Axios has described it: “Former President Donald Trump is at risk of losing the New York real estate empire that the rest of his career was built on. Forcibly dismantling Trump’s company is so unusual that no one is quite certain how it would play out.”
Engoron could decide to cancel the business certificates of all of Trump’s companies. “If the business certificates were canceled,” Axios continued, “the relevant assets — which include Trump Tower, Trump Park Avenue, 40 Wall Street, and Trump National Golf Course Hudson Valley — would be put under the control of a court-appointed receiver, who operates much like an executor of an estate. The receiver would continue to manage the properties, but also could be allowed by the court to sell some — particularly if cash was needed to pay off legal penalties or creditors. Trump, who views himself as a consummate dealmaker, would not be at the negotiating table.”
That is a punishment so out of line with the behavior alleged in this case that it boggles the mind. It is made possible by two factors: a bad law and a hyperpoliticized attorney general. On the bad law, New York’s Executive Law 65(12), the former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote: “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.” There need be no victim — after all, in this case, no bank or financial institution is suing Trump for cheating them, nor does there need to be any crime involved — in fact, prosecutors looked at the same evidence and declined to charge Trump.
Hopefully this case will eventually suffer the same fate as the case against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonald. However, the damage done in getting there will be immense and inexcusable.