14.4 C
Brisbane
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Donald Trump Investigations

Donald Trump has worst day yet in New York civil fraud trial as his underling’s scribbled note emphatically ties Trump to ongoing financial conspiracy

Trump under the bus

Alone in American history’: Prosecutors urge judge to deny Trump’s bid to dismiss D.C. charges

In new court documents, the special counsel articulated his clearest case yet for Trump’s prosecution for election subversion

Judge Chutkan grants Jack Smith's motion regarding Trump's absurd advice of counsel defense

The defendant attempts to rewrite the indictment, claiming that it charges him with wholly innocuous, perhaps even admirable conduct — sharing his opinions about election fraud and seeking election integrity,” wrote assistant special counsel James Pearce

Special counsel Jack Smith argued Monday that Donald Trump’s bid to subvert the 2020 election was far from a case of misplaced “advocacy” or constitutionally protected speech, and he urged the federal judge presiding over Trump’s Washington, D.C., trial to sweep aside Trump’s bid to “sanitize” his conduct.

“The defendant attempts to rewrite the indictment, claiming that it charges him with wholly innocuous, perhaps even admirable conduct — sharing his opinions about election fraud and seeking election integrity,” wrote assistant special counsel James Pearce, “when in fact it clearly describes the defendant’s fraudulent use of knowingly false statements as weapons in furtherance of his criminal plans.”

In a 79-page filing, Smith’s team articulated its clearest case yet for Trump’s prosecution, repeatedly characterizing Trump’s false claims of election fraud as knowing lies aimed at defrauding election officials — from secretaries of state and governors to his own vice president, Mike Pence. Smith also indicated he intends to introduce evidence in Trump’s March trial that Trump stoked the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol and then used it to further his effort to derail Congress’ proceedings that day. Prosecutors say they will rely on Trump’s promise to pardon many of the rioters, his description of Jan. 6 as a “beautiful day” and his decision to record a song with some of the violent offenders imprisoned in the Washington, D.C., jail.

The filings were a rebuttal to Trump’s own efforts to dismiss the indictment, which charges him with mounting a sweeping campaign to pressure state and local election officials to throw out Joe Biden’s victory in closely fought swing states. That campaign of “deceit,” they say, continued with Trump’s effort to assemble false slates of presidential electors, which Pearce contended were meant merely to provoke the pretext of a controversy when Congress met to count the votes on Jan. 6.

“[T]he defendant stands alone in American history for his alleged crimes,” Pearce wrote. “No other president has engaged in conspiracy and obstruction to overturn valid election results and illegitimately retain power.”

Trump had argued that his exhortations to state officials were merely “advocacy” based on his fervent belief that the election was stolen from him. Prosecutors said this contention is belied by Trump’s repeated, specific claims of fraud that were repeatedly discredited by his own advisers. And he used those lies, they said, to obstruct the government’s effort to certify the election.

“Knowing lies are neither opinions nor ‘pure advocacy,’ and in any event, the defendant could not use so-called advocacy as a cover for his scheme to obstruct a governmental function through deceit,” Pearce wrote. “Were it otherwise, defendants captured en route to a bank robbery could not be charged with conspiracy because their crime did not succeed.”

Donald Trump's co-defenders

Even if Trump could present evidence that he genuinely believed the election was stolen, the prosecutor added, his use of specific, debunked claims of fraud to achieve his goals would still make him guilty of an effort to defraud the government. His similar false statements to convince Pence to single-handedly overturn the election were built around his false claims of a “bona fide dispute about which slate of electors should be counted.”

Prosecutors spent much of their brief confronting Trump’s claim that the election-related charges he’s facing are an attempt to criminalize his free speech.

“The First Amendment does not protect fraudulent speech or speech otherwise integral to criminal conduct, particularly crimes that attack the integrity and proper function of government processes,” Pearce wrote. “The defendant’s comments about the virtues of the First Amendment, over which there is no dispute, do nothing to unsettle this line of unbroken precedent.”

In addition to the First Amendment defense, Trump is also seeking to have the case dismissed by asserting that he is “absolutely immune” from the charges. Prosecutors rebutted that argument last month.

On Monday, Pearce recounted a long list of elections — cited by Trump in his motions to dismiss the case — in which there were disputes or controversies related to which presidential electors to count. They include the elections of 1800, when Thomas Jefferson counted a slate of electors from Georgia that had been the subject of controversy; the election of 1960, when Richard Nixon counted a late-arriving slate of electors from Hawaii for his rival John F. Kennedy; and more recent elections when congressional Democrats mounted challenges to the results.

“Notably absent from any of these historical episodes, however, is any attempt by any person to use fraud and deceit to obstruct or defeat the governmental function that would result in the certification of the lawful winner of a presidential election,” Pearce concluded. “The existence throughout history of legitimate electoral disputes does not validate the defendant’s corrupt and dishonest actions any more than the existence of legitimate investment offers validates the creation of a criminal Ponzi scheme.”

In another filing, prosecutors also pushed back on Trump’s claim that he has been “selectively” or “vindictively” prosecuted by Smith as part of a political vendetta by the Biden administration.

“The incumbent president has no role in this case, and the career prosecutors handling this matter would not participate in this prosecution if it were otherwise,” contended senior assistant special counsel Thomas Windom in the 14-page filing.

Trump argued that he is the only person prosecuted for similar crimes in American history — a distinction Smith’s team noted was not a mistake.

“If the defendant is correct in his claim that the indictment is unprecedented, it is only because the defendant’s conduct is unprecedented,” Windom wrote.

However, Windom also argued that Trump’s charges can be readily compared to those facing the thousands who stormed the Capitol in his name. Citing the prosecutions of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, Trump fan Daniel Rodriguez — who tased a police officer in the neck — and others, prosecutors noted that judges in each of those cases emphasized that they were not prosecuted for their political beliefs.

Donald Trump Investigations

Since leaving office, former President Donald J. Trump has been facing several investigations into his business dealings and political activities.

New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, sued the former president using a state law that grants her wide powers to pursue corporate wrongdoing.

New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks in front of a Manhattan Courthouse.

The civil case was brought by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, in 2022.Credit…Ahmed Gaber for The New York Times

When a New York judge ruled on Sept. 26 that Donald J. Trump had committed fraud by inflating his assets, he effectively said that the heart of the case against the former president would not be subject to debate during his trial.

The civil case was brought by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, in 2022, and accuses Mr. Trump and his family business of lying to lenders and insurers about the value of their properties in order to secure more favorable terms. In a so-called summary judgment days before the trial, Justice Arthur F. Engoron of State Supreme Court in Manhattan found that they had done so — and that Mr. Trump was liable.

It is not a normal fraud case. Rather, it was brought under a powerful New York statute that gives the attorney general wide scope to investigate and prosecute corporate fraud. Because that law is being used, the questions that remain will be decided by Justice Engoron in a bench trial — one decided by a judge rather than by a jury.

Justice Engoron is an independent and thoughtful — if somewhat quirky — jurist who has served for 20 years in New York City Civil and State Supreme Court.  The 74-year-old judge, a former cabby with a shock of white hair and a penchant for cracking jokes from the bench, will effectively be judge and jury, deciding the fate of Mr. Trump’s New York businesses, which make up a large portion of his real estate empire.

If the ruling stands, Mr. Trump could lose control over some of his best-known New York real estate — an outcome the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, sought when she filed a lawsuit last year that accused him of fraud and called for the cancellation of his business certificates for any entities in the state that benefited from deceitful practices.

The ruling by the judge, Arthur F. Engoron of the New York State Supreme Court, came before a trial, largely to decide possible penalties, that could begin as early as Monday. Mr. Trump’s lawyers are likely to appeal.

A state law that dates to 1956 gives the attorney general’s office expansive authority to investigate and punish corporations. It demands a lower burden of proof than other fraud cases. Crucially, prosecutors do not have to prove that the defendant intended to act fraudulently — or that they hurt anyone financially in the process. Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that the banks he dealt with made money.

The New York attorney general’s office has relied on the law for years in high-profile cases, including against UBS, Exxon Mobil and Juul — as well as Trump University and the Trump Foundation, both of which paid millions of dollars to resolve the cases before trial.

The statute allows investigators to issue subpoenas and gather information before filing a lawsuit, often resulting in many rounds of legal back-and-forth between competing sets of lawyers.

Ms. James plans to call Mr. Trump and his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump to the witness stand. She also plans to call Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka to testify about the inner workings of the Trump Organization.

The attorney general submitted a list of 28 potential witnesses to the court in order of testimony. Mr. Trump is scheduled to testify second to last.

Trump's mess is about to get messier. Over the next few days Donalds children are going to examined and cross examined about their business practices.

This trial will likely reunite former and current Trump Organization associates, some of whom have testified against Mr. Trump before. Notable among them are Mr. Trump’s former fixer turned chief antagonist, Michael Cohen; the former Trump Organization chief financial officer and criminal defendant, Allen H. Weisselberg; the former company controller, Jeffrey McConney; and Mr. Trump’s former accountant, Donald Bender.

For their part, Mr. Trump and his co-defendants provided the court with a list of 127 witnesses who could be called to prove their case. Their list overlaps slightly with the attorney general’s, also listing Mr. Trump himself, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as Mr. Weisselberg, Mr. McConney and Mr. Bender. They may also call up to 12 expert witnesses to testify about property valuation.

While Mr. Trump is not at risk of going to prison — as is possible in the four criminal cases he faces in other states — the civil trial could still produce serious consequences for the former president and his family business.

Justice Engoron already stripped the Trumps of control over their signature New York properties — a move that could crush much of the business known as the Trump Organization. Ms. James is now asking for more.

She is seeking to recover $250 million in ill-gotten gains. She wants to prohibit Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into any New York State commercial real estate deals for the next five years and to bar them from applying for loans from any New York bank during that same period.

As a final blow, Ms. James wants to permanently prevent Mr. Trump and his adult sons from running any New York companies.

Trump Could Lose Trump Tower (and Other Properties) in Fraud Case

If a judge’s ruling stands, Donald Trump could lose control over some of his flagship New York real estate.

A New York judge put a spotlight on former President Donald J. Trump’s business empire this week, determining in a ruling that he had inflated the value of his properties by considerable sums to gain favorable terms on loans and insurance.

If the ruling stands, Mr. Trump could lose control over some of his best-known New York real estate — an outcome the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, sought when she filed a lawsuit last year that accused him of fraud and called for the cancellation of his business certificates for any entities in the state that benefited from deceitful practices.

The ruling by the judge, Arthur F. Engoron of the New York State Supreme Court, came before a trial, largely to decide possible penalties, that could begin as early as Monday. Mr. Trump’s lawyers are likely to appeal.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers and a leading real estate expert have argued that Ms. James’s lawsuit does not properly factor in the Trump brand’s value or take into account the subjective nature of real estate valuations, with borrowers and lenders routinely offering differing estimates.

Nearly a dozen of the properties owned or partly controlled by Mr. Trump and his organization may be subject to Justice Engoron’s ruling.

EVERY co defendant TURNING on Trump

Judge Chutkan reimposes gag order on Donald Trump

EVERY co defendant TURNING on Trump

Judge Imposes Limited Gag Order on Trump in Election Case

The order bars him from attacking witnesses, court staff members and specific prosecutors or their families.

A judge imposed a limited gag order on former President Donald J. Trump on Monday, restricting Mr. Trump from making public statements attacking the witnesses and specific prosecutors or court staff members involved in the federal case concerning his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump’s free speech rights do not permit him “to launch a pretrial smear campaign” against those people, said the judge, Tanya S. Chutkan.

“No other defendant would be allowed to do so,” Judge Chutkan added, “and I’m not going to allow it in this case.”

But the narrowly tailored order explicitly left Mr. Trump free as he pursues his presidential campaign to continue disparaging the Justice Department and President Biden. It even allowed him to assert that he believed his criminal prosecution was politically motivated. Judge Chutkan apparently left Mr. Trump leeway to attack her as well.

The judge also addressed a particularly thorny question involving former Vice President Mike Pence, who is both a witness in the case and one of Mr. Trump’s rivals for the 2024 Republican nomination. She said Mr. Trump could go after Mr. Pence as long as the attacks did not touch on Mr. Pence’s role in the criminal prosecution.

Judge Chutkan, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, did not immediately address how she intends to enforce her order. She said she would assess any consequences for Mr. Trump if and when he violates it. Penalties for defying an order range from a reprimand or a fine to jail time.

Judge Chutkan imposed the gag order at the end of a two-hour hearing in Federal District Court in Washington — one of the most contentious public proceedings so far in any of the four criminal cases Mr. Trump is facing. It was the second time in two weeks that a judge has placed restrictions on what the former president can say.

Jack Smith sets up Trump for pre trial

“They put a gag order on me, and I’m not supposed to be talking about things that bad people do, and so we’ll be appealing very quickly,” Mr. Trump said on Monday at a campaign stop in Iowa. He added, “I’ll be the only politician in history where I won’t be allowed to criticize people.”

Gag orders limiting what trial participants can say outside of court are not uncommon. But Mr. Trump’s status as the Republican front-runner, and his decision to portray prosecutors’ request for a gag order as part of an effort by the Biden administration to stifle a political rival, made the order especially complex.

In issuing a nuanced order, Judge Chutkan appeared to be threading the needle between balancing Mr. Trump’s rights to political speech as a candidate for the country’s highest office and her own duties to protect the integrity of the proceedings before her.

Mr. Trump and his legal team have persistently sought to portray the election case as being about his First Amendment rights, and they are expected to challenge the order vigorously.

Mr. Trump could immediately appeal the order, arguing it is an unconstitutional prior restraint on his free speech rights. In addition, if he later makes remarks that the judge decides had crossed the line and imposes a punishment, he could challenge that specific episode.

Much of the hearing was given over to heated sparring between Judge Chutkan and John F. Lauro, a lawyer for Mr. Trump.

John F. Lauro, right, arriving Monday. He has taken the lead in defending Mr. Trump in the election interference case.Credit…Haiyun Jiang for The New York Times
John F. Lauro in a blue suit and yellow tie walking to the courthouse for a hearing on a gag order against Donald Trump.

Cutting Mr. Lauro off several times — and even laughing at him when he maintained that the pretrial release conditions imposed on Mr. Trump were working — Judge Chutkan staked out a position that was largely in keeping with the government’s. She repeatedly said that Mr. Trump should not enjoy any special privileges as a presidential candidate. She added that she was simply seeking to protect people involved in the election interference case from being threatened, and to keep Mr. Trump’s bullying remarks from spiraling into violence.

“This trial will not yield to the election cycle,” Judge Chutkan said.

Mr. Lauro, often using exaggerated language, sought to portray Mr. Trump as the victim of the government’s “tyranny” and “totalitarianism.” He tried to reframe the former president’s public statements, saying they were merely examples of “speaking truth against oppression,” and he baselessly portrayed President Biden as having directed the case against Mr. Trump.

At one point, the tensions nearly boiled over as Judge Chutkan noted that Mr. Lauro was speaking as much to his client, Mr. Trump, as he was to her, and warned him to “tone this down a bit.” Mr. Lauro responded by accusing the judge of trying to censor his own speech.

Mr. Trump has a long history of attacking those who have taken part in criminal cases against him. Over the weekend, in fact, he falsely declared in a fund-raising email and on social media that prosecutors in the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, had asked to gag him specifically to stop him from criticizing Mr. Biden during the campaign.

Federal Judge Reinstates Gag Order on Trump in Election Case

Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that her order should stay in effect while the former president’s lawyers pursue an appeal.

 

A federal judge reinstated a gag order on former President Donald J. Trump on Sunday that had been temporarily placed on hold nine days earlier, reimposing restrictions on what Mr. Trump can say about witnesses and prosecutors in the case in which he stands accused of seeking to overturn the 2020 election.

In making her decision, the judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, also denied a request by Mr. Trump’s lawyers to freeze the gag order for what could have been a considerably longer period, saying it can remain in effect as a federal appeals court in Washington reviews it.

“The First Amendment rights of participants in criminal proceedings must yield, when necessary, to the orderly administration of justice,” Judge Chutkan wrote.

The dispute about the gag order, which was initially put in place on Oct. 16 after several rounds of court filings and a hard-fought hearing in Federal District Court in Washington, has for weeks pitted two significant legal arguments against each other.

From the start, Mr. Trump’s lawyers, largely led by John F. Lauro, have argued that the order was not merely a violation of the former president’s First Amendment rights. Rather, they asserted, the order “silenced” him at a critical moment: just as he has been shoring up his position as the Republican Party’s leading candidate for president in the 2024 election.

It’s difficult to imagine Rudy Giuliani’s legal circumstances getting any worse. DC federal court judge Beryl Howell just entered a devastating order against Giuliani in the defamation lawsuit brought against him by Georgia state election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman. As NBC News reported: “Judge punishes Rudy Giuliani for ‘continued and flagrant disregard’ of court orders.”

This video reviews the appropriately brutal order just handed down by the judge as a result of Giuliani “hiding” from the court and the plaintiffs information about his finances, and how the jury will be instructed to hold that against him when they are determining how much Rudy should be ordered to pay Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman in damages.

In the past few days three of Donald Trumps co conspirators have gone from rapidly asserting the election was stolen to admitting they lied – have taken a deal with the courts and pleaded guilty.

So why is that significant. As all the TV crime shows say – the ones who take the deal first – get the best deal. In these court cases well kinda maybe.

Their sworn testimony can and most likely will be used in other on going court cases. It is anticipated more conspirators will admit to the lies distortions and blatant lies about the so called stolen election and flip. Admit guilt take a deal and swear to give up provide evidence against all the others including Donald T Trump.

Recent Articles

spot_img

Related Stories