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Tag: trump lawsuits

Judge Mehta Handed Trump A Major Defeat On January 6 Lawsuits

Former "defeated" President Trump's bigly bad week concluded with US District Judge Amit Mehta flatly rejecting his motion to dismiss three cases regarding his conduct on January 6, 2021, thus allowing the major suits to proceed. And assuming the ruling holds amid a Supreme Court stuffed with Trump goons, it's almost inevitable that Mr. Fifth Amendment will be forced to go under oath during discovery.

The three cases consist of Swalwell v. Trump, in which Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell sued Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Don Jr. and GOP Rep. Mo Brooks; Thompson v. Trump, in which 11 Democratic representatives sued the former president, his lawyer, and both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers; and Blassingame v. Trump, in which two Capitol Police officers are looking to hold Trump accountable for their injuries on January 6. Most important, all the plaintiffs sued under the premise that Trump and the other defendants conspired to violate the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, a Reconstruction Era statute that makes it illegal to impede a government official carrying out his or her official duty. Moreover, impeding the transfer of power to Joe Biden.

Trump has vigorously (and poorly) argued that he was simply exercising his First Amendment right in summoning the mob to DC, in which he instigated their violent reaction with election lie after lie. In order to chip away at this defense, the plaintiffs have alleged trump engaged in illegal incitement. In other words, his speech was “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action,” and that it was “likely to incite or produce such action," which is known as the Brandenberg standard.

According to Judge Mehta, the plaintiffs appear to have satisfied that need.

"The prospect of violence had become so likely that a former aide to the President predicted in a widely publicized statement that “there will be violence on January 6th because the President himself encourages it.” Thus, when the President stepped to the podium on January 6th, it is reasonable to infer that he would have known that some in the audience were prepared for violence," wrote Mehta.

"Yet, the President delivered a speech he understood would only aggravate an already volatile situation. For 75 uninterrupted minutes, he told rally-goers that the election was “rigged” and “stolen,” at one point asserting that “Third World Countries” had more honest elections. He identified who the culprits were of the election fraud: “radical Left Democrats” and “weak” Republicans. They were the ones who had stolen their election victory, he told them. He directed them not to “concede,” and urged them to show “strength” and be “strong.” They would not be able to “take back [their] country with weakness.” He told them that the rules did not apply: “When you catch somebody in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules.” And they would have an “illegitimate President” if the Vice President did not act, and “we can’t let that happen.” These words stoked an already inflamed crowd, which had heard for months that the election was stolen and that “weak politicians” had failed to help the President."

With the legal ramifications and ruling that Trump and his spawn must respond to questions about the Trump Organization, the possibility of Trump being tried for stealing classified documents, and now a DC judge's ruling rejecting Trump's desire to dismiss lawsuits pertaining to the violent DC insurrection, the walls appear to be closing in on the twice-impeached, one term, con man.

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

Trump Lawsuit Against Omarosa Gets Tossed In Arbitration

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Donald Trump has lost his case against Omarosa Manigault Newman, his former White House aide and a former reality TV star on several "Apprentice" seasons

The case was decided in arbitration, with the arbitrator declaring that it was "certainly unreasonable" for Omarosa "to never say anything remotely critical of Mr. Trump, his family or his or his family members' businesses for the rest of her life," The New York Times reports.

"Donald has used this type of vexatious litigation to intimidate, harass and bully for years," Manigault Newman said in a statement. "Finally the bully has met his match!"

In 2018 Trump had sued Manigault Newman, who frequently uses the mononymous "Omarosa," for what he claimed were violations of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) she had signed after the publication of her book, Unhinged about President Trump. That NDA was signed in 2016 while she was with his presidential campaign.

The Times adds that Omarosa's book "paints a picture of an out-of-control president who is in a state of mental decline and is prone to racist and misogynistic behavior. Ms. Manigault Newman's book also casts the former president's daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in a negative light. When Trump advisers tried to cast doubt on Ms. Manigault Newman's accounts, she released audio recordings that backed up several of her claims."

Omarosa released four of what she claimed were about 200 tapes she had secretly recorded of Trump and others in his administration. One of those released was recorded in the White House's Situation Room, which is believed to have been "one of the worst White House security breaches ever."

Trump reportedly had wanted his then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to arrest Manigault Newman over the book.

Latest Trump Lawsuit Demands Court Cancel Georgia Vote

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Donald Trump filed a lawsuit on New Year's Eve demanding that a federal judge decertify the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, alleging without any evidence that "illegal voting" occurred and therefore the results were invalid.

The suit, filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in their official capacities, claims the existence of violations of election law that "have resulted in more than 11,779 'illegal' votes to be counted in the State of Georgia which is sufficient to change the outcome of the election or place the outcome in doubt."

President-elect Joe Biden won the state by exactly 11,779 votes.

The lawsuit is similar to dozens of other lawsuits the Trump campaign and Trump's GOP allies have filed since the election. They have lost 60 of those lawsuits, with judges tossing many of them due to a lack of any proof.

Multiple federal fudges have chastised Trump's lawyers and his GOP defenders for filing the lawsuits, accusing them of trying to subvert the will of the voters by getting judges to overturn a free and fair election.

"Voters, not lawyers, choose the president," wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, in a decision in November tossing out a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking to overturn election results in Pennsylvania. "Ballots, not briefs, decide elections."

Ballots in Georgia have been counted three times, each time with the same conclusion: Biden defeated Trump in the state.

Nevertheless, Trump is still trying to overturn the state's result, even though if Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes were removed from Biden's column, Biden would still have 290, more than the 270 needed to win.

Trump is continuing to go to extraordinary lengths to overturn the will of the voters in Georgia.

He called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday to demand that Raffensperger "find" just enough votes to make Trump the winner in the state.

The phone call could lead to criminal charges against Trump, as experts say it's a violation of both state and federal election law to engage in a conspiracy to commit election fraud.

Georgia has already certified its election results; the electors in the state cast their ballots on Dec. 14; and the election is over. What's more, the so-called safe harbor deadline to resolve disputes about the election results in the courts passed on Dec. 8.

The last step in the process is for Congress to certify the results of the Electoral College vote, which it is scheduled to do on Wednesday. More than 140 Republican lawmakers plan to object to the certification, but their stunt will fail, as the Democratic-controlled House will not vote to overturn Biden's win.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Mar-a-Lago Neighbors Bluntly Tell Trump: Get Lost

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump's neighbors in Florida have a message a very clear message for him as his post-presidential days approach: do not make Mar-a-Lago your permanent residence because "we don't want you to be our neighbor."

According to the Washington Post, on Tuesday morning that blatant message was sent to the president in the form of a demand letter. Addressed to Palm Beach, Fla., and the U.S. Secret Service, the letter served as a reminder of the legal reason why Trump cannot claim Mar-a-Lago as a permanent residence. Palm Beach attorney Reginald Stambaugh, noted that the problem centers on Trump's transformation of the residence into a private golf club.

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Trump Lawsuits Are Too Little, Too Late, And Too Flawed To Affect Vote Counts

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

The flurry of lawsuits hastily filed by President Trump's campaign and its Republican allies to stop counting votes and to disqualify absentee ballots has so far failed to make much headway—in contrast to disinformation that they are spreading to discredit the 2020 election.

Trump's propaganda, predictably, has drawn wide attention. Whether tweets falsely claiming he won and Democrats are stealing the election (which Twitter labeled with content warning notices), or his son Eric's fabricated video of ballots being burned (they were sample ballots, not real ones), or false statements by White House officials, these antics have been noted and debunked.

In contrast to this bombast, Trump's lawsuits filed since Election Day in states where the presidential results are not yet known have had limited success, but, more importantly, they do not appear to be game changers. The lawsuits are targeting small facets of the absentee ballots process. While court rulings may delay announcing the results and certifying winners, the suits are not poised to disqualify enough ballots to alter the race's outcome—not where he lags by tens of thousands of votes. Instead, many of Trump's suits have been filed late, and some are error-ridden.

"None of Trump's small bore lawsuits have been able to stop the count, and of course there is no basis to do so," wrote ElectionLawBlog's Rick Hasen on Thursday. "He and his supporters have been promoting baseless and dangerous conspiracy theories that Democratic elected officials are somehow 'stealing' the vote when all they are doing is counting the ballots."

Consider two of Trump's lawsuits from Michigan. The first lawsuit, against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was filed late Wednesday afternoon and sought to stop the statewide counting of votes—just hours before the counting was done. The campaign's brief was filed by Mark "Thor" Hearne—a Missouri-based attorney who, in 2005, was one of the first Republicans to promote the false claim of widespread voter fraud. The suit claimed that Republicans did not have an observer "present at the absent voter counting place" in every jurisdiction, and these observers were not being allowed "to observe the video of the ballot boxes into which these [absentee] ballots are placed." On this basis, Trump wanted to stop Michigan's vote count.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens dismissed the lawsuit on Thursday, saying that it was filed as the last ballots were counted—too late—which made the procedural claims moot. The defendant, Benson, was the wrong person to sue, the judge said, because Benson doesn't directly supervise how the state's local election officials process absentee ballots.

This was a messy filing. Chris Sautter, an election attorney specializing in recounts who has worked for Democratic candidates for decades, said that a serious suit should have been filed on Tuesday, when the absentee ballot processing began. If there were issues with campaign representatives getting access to observe the process, the remedy was granting access, not stopping the count statewide, he said. And while the lawsuit said that Benson had a duty to instruct local officials, it never detailed that she had failed to do so, he noted. In other words, the Trump lawsuit was too general, too late, and had targeted the wrong defendant.

The Trump campaign filed a similar suit late Wednesday in Detroit seeking to stop the city's processing of a subset of absentee ballots—those that had to be duplicated because they were torn or stained—and seeking to halt certifying the city's presidential election results. Like the suit against Benson, this action came as the counting was ending and also named the wrong defendant. On Thursday morning, Trump's campaign filed papers to add Wayne County as a defendant, as it is the county—not the city of Detroit—that certifies election results.

On the specifics, the suit said that some absentee ballots were being duplicated by election officials without a Republican observer present. The duplication should stop, and all duplicated ballots should be "segregated" or set aside, it said, where presumably those ballots could be further examined and possibly challenged. Such a delay would slow down certifying Detroit's results.

What Trump's Detroit-centered lawsuit did not say was that the Michigan Republican Party had observers in the cavernous room where the city was processing and counting ballots. It did not say that the Republicans had raised issues surrounding the ballot processing that were being ignored. And it was filed after the counting was over, but still sought a restraining order to halt the process.


The Trump campaign's litigation in response to not winning in a landslide Tuesday appears to be messy and late. A similar lawsuit was filed in Nevada after Election Day seeking to stop that swing state's counting. The suit, too, claimed that Trump observers were being stymied. It was unanimously rejected by the state's supreme court. It didn't look like the Trump campaign planned on suing in Michigan or Nevada, Sautter said, despite Trump's threat to launch a wave of litigation.

But more importantly, the target of Trump's lawsuits—to disqualify a subset of absentee ballots, stop the counting process and delay certifying the results—was not going to add up to the tens of thousands of votes that Trump needs to win in key states. On Thursday, Trump trailed Joe Biden in Michigan by 147,000 votes, where his lawyers are seeking to challenge spoiled ballots that were duplicated.

That same assessment is likely in Pennsylvania, where Trump's lawyers were positioning themselves to challenge the absentee ballots that had been postmarked by Election Day, but can still arrive by mail through Friday, November 6. The Trump campaign on Wednesday filed a motionin the U.S. Supreme Court to join a suit over these late-returning absentee ballots in Pennsylvania. Late Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the Postal Service said that there were only 3,439 absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day to be delivered in Pennsylvania.

The big picture that emerges is that Trump's post-Election Day litigation strategy has not stopped the vote-counting process nor was it poised to implicate enough votes to overturn the results in swing states. Thus, if Trump cannot win a second term in the courts of legal opinion, he is seeking to discredit the process in the court of public opinion—where propaganda and disinformation make quicker impressions than real-life points of law.

Trump's rambling, grievance-filled statement late Thursday blaming the Democrats for trying to "steal" the election appeared to be the latest affirmation of this strategy.

"They are grasping at straws," Sautter said, speaking of Trump's litigation strategy before his speech. "They are trying to discredit the process by trying to say that the outcome cannot be trusted because there were too many flaws."

"They waited too long to complain," he continued. "If they didn't have enough people observing [in Detroit], they should have taken care of that beginning with Election Day. This lawsuit was filed late yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon. Now the counting is done. There's no evidence that any of this stuff adds up to anywhere near the margin."

There may be "a little bit of truth" in the Republicans' contention that they lacked sufficient numbers of election observers, Sautter said. But that lapse was their error, not the fault of the officials running the absentee ballot counting boards—a process that has been in place for years.

"A lot of this is too little too late," he said.



Trump Escalates His Angry Assault On The First Amendment

This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.

Donald Trump is at war with the First Amendment and the free press. The war is on full display nearly every day in his rage-filled press conferences on the COVID-19 pandemic, in which he regularly condemns the "fake news" media and bashes reporters who dare to ask the slightest probative questions about his handling of the ongoing public-health crisis.

Trump's war is also longstanding. And it is waged not only on television and in angry tweets and at campaign rallies (which have been put on hold because of the coronavirus), but also in courtrooms across the country in the form of defamation lawsuits designed to shame, silence and punish his critics.

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Danziger: A Lack Of Standing?

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

President Trump Has Already Been Sued Over 34 Times Since Election Day

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Earlier this month, former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos announced she would be moving forward with a lawsuit against the man who allegedly sexually assaulted her, Donald Trump. Zervos is one of more than a dozen women who say they were sexually abused or assaulted by Trump, who was inaugurated U.S. president a little over a week ago.

Trump is no stranger to lawsuits charging him with being a sexual predator, though he has been involved in cases that run the gamut—nearly 3,500 legal filings going back to the 1990s. When you have reportedly made a career out of bilking contractors out of money, harassing women, and setting up fraudulent universities and other businesses, you can expect your name to end up in a lot of court papers.

In just under three months since he won the election, Trump has been sued more than 34 times. According to LawNewz, which analyzed court records, Trump is outpacing himself where lawsuits are concerned. According to the site, the tally doesn’t include “possible suits that we were unable to track down in municipal and state courts.” The pool is plenty diverse, in any case:

According to our research, among the cases, he’s been sued for defamation stemming from sexual assault claims, for violating the U.S. Constitution, and for violations of civil rights laws. Also, sprinkled in the docket are numerous frivolous lawsuits, which have little chance of going anywhere but are amusing nonetheless. Many plaintiffs tried to stop Trump from taking office, others tried to stop him from being sworn in, and one even tried to enjoin Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts from administering the oath of office on Inauguration Day. An underlying theme of the lawsuits was concern that the 2016 election was influenced by the Russian government, and claims that President Trump’s sprawling business ties could affect his leadership ability.

In wading through the heap of legal filings, LawNewz found a number of cases that deserved special citing. A woman named Sheila McCrea filed suit directly to the Supreme Court, “expressing great concern that the Russians were said to have influenced the 2016 election, and feared Trump could be vulnerable to further blackmail by the Russian government.” Another case, Frederic Shultz v. Trump, involves a Clinton supporter who claims in court papers that, “Chief Justice Roberts swearing in Trump to be President of the United States, violates…the rights of all other citizens who voted for Clinton, under the Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection of the law.”

LawNewz also points to Kelly Sennholz and Jerroll Sanders v. Trump, a dismissed suit that deserves an “A” for effort.

Kelly Sennholz and Jerroll Sanders, from Colorado, filed a pro se request for emergency order asking whether the “United States failed to protect the States from invasion during the 2016 election.” The 22-page complaint, complete with a table of contents, asks the court to enjoin Congress from ratifying the 2016 federal election results, since the United States “failed to protect States’ cyber territories from foreign invasion.” The lawsuit claims “there exists clear and convincing evidence that some elected officials who prevailed in the 2016 election were ‘selected’ by a foreign power rather than elected.”

Last year, USA Today pulled together all the Trump-centered court filings it could find and created an infographic that sorts the suits by type. That investigation yielded an even greater number of suits, totaling just under 4,100.

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

IMAGE: U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to sign a memorandum to security services directing them to defeat the Islamic State in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst