Tag: arthur engoron
Trump Faces Huge Potential Damages In January 6 Civil Lawsuits

Trump Faces Huge Potential Damages In January 6 Civil Lawsuits

Before Justice Arthur Engoron released his verdict in New York Attorney General Letitia James' civil fraud case, many legal experts predicted that Trump would get clobbered financially. And that's exactly what happened.

On Friday afternoon, February 16, Engoron ordered Trump to pay almost $355 million. But when interest in factored in, that figure increases to $450 million.

Engoron's decision comes after two separate civil defamation lawsuits by former Elle Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.

Trump was ordered to pay Carroll $5 million in damages in her first lawsuit against him and $83.3 million in the second one. Between James' case (including the interest) and the damages in Carroll's lawsuits, Trump owes over $535 million.

According to Forbes' Alison Durkee, those aren't the only civil cases that Trump needs to be worried about.

In an article published on February 19, Durkee explains, "Former President Donald Trump now owes more than $440 million before interest in civil court fines after being ordered to pay more than $354 million Friday in the civil fraud case against him and his company — and it's possible more damages awards could be coming as the ex-president faces more civil cases seeking to hold him liable for the January 6 riot. Trump still faces multiple civil lawsuits — which have largely been consolidated in court — brought by Democratic lawmakers and Capitol police officers, which seek to hold Trump personally liable for the January 6 riot."

Durkee adds, "Those cases are now moving forward after federal district and appeals courts refused to throw them out, rejecting Trump's argument that he has 'immunity' because the allegations stem from actions he took as president."

Durkee notes that the "January 6 civil cases" are "moving forward again in federal district court after appeals courts refused to throw them out." A hearing, according to Durkee, has been scheduled for this Friday, February 23.

"Trump has denied the allegations against him in the civil January 6 lawsuits, accusing Democratic lawmakers in his motion to dismiss of 'attempting to undermine the First Amendment by bringing this lawsuit, based on their longstanding and public grudges against President Trump,'" Durkee reports. "The lawmakers 'fail to plausibly plead any viable conspiracy theory against President Trump,' Trump's attorneys wrote…. The ex-president has continued to insist ex-presidents have 'absolute immunity' even as courts have rejected his arguments, claiming such immunity is necessary even when their actions 'cross the line.'"

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Arthur Engoron

If Judgments Force Sale Of Trump Properties, How Much Would He Get?

After Judge Arthur Engoron handed down a judgment against former President Donald Trump in excess of $350 million on Friday, the ex-president may end up having to liquidate some of his assets to satisfy the court's obligations.

Trump attorney Alina Habba has said that her client plans to appeal the ruling, though he'll still have to put the money in a court-managed account while the appeals process plays out, in addition to the state-mandated nine percent interest for appeals of civil judgments. Daily Beast reporter Jose Pagliery tweeted his back-of-the-napkin math estimating that in order to appeal Engoron's judgment, Trump would have to set aside roughly $450 million when accounting for interest.

But Engoron's penalty is merely the second judgment Trump has been hit with in 2024. Earlier this month, a jury ordered the former president to pay writer E. Jean Carroll $88.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages for defamation. That's on top of a separate $5 million judgment Trump was ordered to pay Carroll in 2023. With all of these court-ordered penalties lumped together, that means Trump will be on the hook for nearly $450 million. And even if his bid for the presidency is successful this November, he'll still be required to pay those penalties. He's also prevented from running any New York-based business for three years.

In order for Trump to pay those judgments, he may have to end up selling some of his flagship properties in his real estate portfolio. Exactly how much his properties are worth is still a matter of debate, as Judge Engoron found Trump liable for fraudulently inflating the values of his assets, giving New York Attorney General Letitia James nearly all she was asking for in disgorgement penalties. But both the attorney general's office and various reports have found rough estimates for some of his most valuable assets.

The crown jewels of the Trump Organization are his Manhattan skyscrapers: Trump Tower (valued at roughly $117 million according to Forbes), Trump Park Avenue (valued at $135.8 million in 2020) and 40 Wall Street (pegged at $220 million by a professional appraiser in 2012). While it's unlikely he would move to sell these buildings out of his nearly two dozen residential, commercial and resort properties, they could feasibly cover the judgments depending on how appraisers would view them in 2024.

The Independent delved into other appraisals for some of Trump's other pricey properties outside of New York City, including his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, which is valued at roughly $20 million. The New York Attorney General's office cited a figure of $56 million for his Seven Springs property in Westchester County, New York (just north of the city). In 2022, Trump sold the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC for roughly $375 million, which was enough to satisfy a $170 million loan from Deutsche Bank and pocket a hefty profit afterward.

Trump's legal woes in New York are far from over, however, with his first of four criminal trials scheduled for March 25 in Manhattan District Court. He faces 34 felony counts of allegedly falsifying business records related to a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stephanie Clifford in 2016.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Letitia James

James: Trump Should Be Banned From New York Real Estate For 'Outrageous' Fraud

NEW YORK, January 5 (Reuters) - Donald Trump should be permanently barred from New York's real estate industry for "outrageous" fraud, the state's attorney general said in a court filing on Friday ahead of closing arguments in a civil case against the former U.S. president.

Attorney General Letitia James and lawyers for Trump and the other defendants filed their final briefs ahead of closing arguments scheduled for next Thursday in Manhattan in a case that threatens to strip him of prized real estate assets.

In their filing, Trump's lawyers accused the attorney general's office of overstepping its authority by trying to bar Trump from "any and all" business activity, a penalty "far more substantial than the mere loss of money."

Trump's lawyers said the state failed during the three-month trial last year to show any "real-world impact" from Trump's financial statements to banks, which according to the judge presiding over the case overstated his net worth by billions of dollars.

The attorney general's office in its filing said Trump's "myriad deceptive schemes" to "inflate asset values and conceal facts were so outrageous that they belie innocent explanation."

Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in this year's U.S. election.

Justice Arthur Engoron will hand down his verdict sometime after the closing arguments. Engoron already found Trump liable for fraudulently overstating his wealth to secure better loan terms.The trial focused on damages. James, an elected Democrat, is seeking at least $370 million in penalties from Trump and his co-defendants, as well as restrictions on Trump's ability to do business in the state.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the case a political witch hunt. He said in a social media post on Friday that there were "no victims" in the case.

Trump separately has been charged with crimes in four other cases, pleading not guilty in each. His maelstrom of legal troubles has not diminished his commanding lead over Republican rivals in the presidential race.

During defiant and meandering testimony in October, Trump boasted about his business acumen and railed against what he said was political bias against him by James and Engoron.

Three of his adult children -- Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Trump -- also testified in the trial. They said they had little to no involvement with their father's financial statements while running the Trump Organization, an umbrella company for his wide-ranging business ventures. Unlike her brothers, Ivanka Trump is not a defendant.

Lawyers for Donald Jr. and Eric Trump said in their own filing on Friday that there was no evidence that either had "anything more than a peripheral knowledge or involvement in" the preparation of their father's financial statements.

The future of Trump's empire hangs in the balance after Engoron in September ordered the dissolution of companies controlling crown jewels of his New York portfolio, including Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.

That order is on hold while Trump appeals. Some legal experts have said Engoron may lack the authority to issue such a sweeping order.

Trump is under indictment in Washington and Georgia for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden, in Florida for his handling of classified documents after leaving office, and in New York over hush money paid to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

The first of his criminal trials is scheduled to begin in New York in March, but that is subject to change as Trump's crowded legal calendar complicates court schedules.

Reporting by Jack Queen; Editing by Will Dunham, Noeleen Walder, DanielWallis and Nick Zieminski

Donald Trump

Trump: It's My Free Speech Right To Inspire Violent Threats Against Court Clerk

Imagine this: You’re a clerk to a judge in a New York State court. You graduated from the Cardozo School of Law in 2010, and since then, you have worked as an associate in a New York law firm. For five years, you worked for the City of New York in its Special Litigation Unit handling law suits against the city. You have been the clerk to Judge Arthur Engoron since 2019, getting up in the morning and traveling by subway into Manhattan to your office in his chambers, or sitting beside him in court, advising him on cases, filings, motions – the constant flow of legal documents and questions that any judge in a big city court deals with constantly.

You have a good job. You enjoy working for your judge. And then one day, by the luck of the draw in the state court system, Judge Engoron gets assigned to handle People of the State of New York v. Donald J. Trump.

Even before Judge Engoron issued a gag order that forbade him to attack you on social media or in speeches or press availabilities, you were getting harassing phone calls and texts daily. Trump called you “Chuck Schumer’s girlfriend,” which even if true would not be a mark against you in your job, because you enjoy the right of any other citizen of New York State, or other states for that matter, to date whoever you want. But Trump hammered on it, making it sound like a charge against you, calling you “unfair” and “biased” because you happen to belong to the Democratic Party.

When the gag order was in effect, the harassment dropped off, but then the Court of Appeals temporarily lifted the gag order and Trump started in on you and Judge Engoron again. Trump took to social media, calling Judge Engoron a “psycho judge,” Attorney General Leticia James “racist” and you “corrupt.” He accused all three officials involved in the case against him of “seriously looking to DESTROY OUR COUNTRY.”

This kind of stuff would almost be laughable if there weren’t millions of people out there in America reading Trump’s rants on their phones and watching him attack you and the judge in the hallways of the courthouse and on its steps. They are his people. They believe him when he concludes his rant against you and the judge and the attorney general with his ubiquitous slogan, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Trump’s rants on social media and at his rallies are not just throat-clearing exercises. They are calls to action. He wants his supporters to join him in fighting the forces that in his eyes have somehow made America not great, even though every economic indicator shows that the United States is having one of the best years since the beginning of the pandemic.

All those people out there attending Trump’s rallies and reading his social media posts believe him, because they are told that everyone is lying to them but him, but Donald Trump, the man they want to vote for and put back in the White House.

So, they start in again on you and Judge Engoron, making 20 to 30 phone calls each day to your personal cellphone, because Trump and his minions have “doxed” you and revealed all your personal information, like where you live and who your relatives are and what your cell number is. Trump’s supporters have left you 30 to 50 messages a day since the appeals court lifted the gag order last week, a filing from attorneys for the New York State court system revealed last Friday. Charles Hollon, an official in the Public Safety Department’s Judicial Threats Assessment Unit, told the appeals court that approximately 50 percent of the harassing phone calls and social media posts were antisemitic.

A list of the threats and harassing phone calls and texts filed with the Court of Appeals ran to 250 single-spaced pages. The list included such threats against the life of Judge Engoron’s clerk as “I mean, honestly, you should be assassinated. You should be killed. You should be not assassin executed [sic]. You should be executed.” Another threat read, “Resign now, you dirty, treasonous piece of trash snake. We are going to get you and anyone of you dirty, backstabbing, lying, cheating American. You are nothing but a bunch of communists. We are coming to remove you permanently.” Hollon called the threats “serious and credible” in the filing, asking that the gag order against Trump be upheld.

In a filing with the Court of Appeals demanding that the gag order not be reimposed, Trump’s lawyers took the view that threats against the lives of court officials involved in the case against their client don’t matter: “At base, the disturbing behavior engaged in by anonymous, third-party actors towards the judge and Principal Law Clerk publicly presiding over an extremely polarizing and high-profile trial merits appropriate security measures. However, it does not justify the wholesale abrogation of Petitioners’ First Amendment rights in a proceeding of immense stakes to Petitioners, which has been compromised by the introduction of partisan bias on the bench.”

So, there it is. Not only does Donald Trump take the position that if you are a clerk in a New York State court, you should just suck up all the harassment and threats and stop complaining, you and the judge are in fact the reason you’re getting the threats, because both of you have introduced “partisan bias on the bench.” No evidence of bias was cited by the lawyers, because as with other statements by their client, such as that he won the presidential election of 2020, no evidence was necessary. The Trump position on the gag order, and on the cases against him in New York and Washington D.C. and Florida and Georgia, is that everything said about him or charged against him is unfair and biased, and all the evidence against him has been planted by the deep state, and he didn’t do anything wrong because he says he didn’t.

If some little clerk in New York City ends up getting pushed in front of a subway train or gunned down as she enters her apartment building, well, that’s what happens when you go up against Donald Trump.

Trump told the Court of Appeals that neither “President Trump nor his counsel ever made a statement referencing the Principal Law Clerk’s religion, appearance, or private activities.” Because all Trump and his attorneys have done is call her biased and unfair and corrupt, all the threats and harassment should be allowed to continue.

Free speech for me, death threats for the clerk and the judge and the attorney general. That is the legal position Donald Trump has taken in his filing seeking to have the stay against the gag order continued. Meanwhile, while Judge Engoron and his clerk are undergoing a tsunami of harassment and threats that took 250 single-spaced pages to list, Trump is riding around in armored Secret Service “Beast” SUV’s and traveling on his private jet, surrounded by Secret Service agents carrying M-4 automatic submachine guns, as he continues to egg on his hordes of MAGA followers.

(I have purposely omitted the name of the court clerk in the Trump trial.)

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

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