Turley Points Out the ‘Poison Pill’ in the Trump Fraud Case and How Unjust It Is

George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley has ripped apart the weaponization of the law against former President Donald Trump in the New York fraud decision, noting how unusual the application of the statute was, particularly given there were no victims and no one lost anything. 

He noted how the fine was more than $455 million with interest, and the people — ‘the victims” — wanted to do more business with Trump, that they made a lot of money. Usually, awards are based on the damage sustained, and this decision is completely unhinged on that basis. 

In an article on the decision, Turley called the fine “greater than the gross national product of some countries.” He also said the people were now prevented from doing business with Trump as they wished because of the decision. 

Turley also noted how the law hadn’t been applied before in such a case. 

The New York statute has been on the books for decades and has always been something of an anomaly in not requiring an actual victim or loss to justify disgorgement or fines. 
Even the New York Times agreed that it could not find a single case in history where this statute was used against an individual or a company that did not commit a criminal offense, go bankrupt, or leave financial victims. 

But on top of all that, Turley noted the “poison pill” — that in order to appeal such an unfair decision, Trump would have to come up with the full amount or a bond covering it just to appeal, within 30 days. 

Under New York law, Trump cannot appeal this ruling without depositing the full amount, including interest, in a court account. Even for Trump, $455 million is hard to come by. Likewise, a bond would require a company to guarantee payment for a defendant who has been barred from doing business in New York and is facing the need to liquidate much of his portfolio.
Nothing succeeds like excess for judges like Engoron. By imposing this astronomical figure, he can make it difficult or impossible for a defendant to appeal, absent declaring bankruptcy or selling off assets at distress prices. 

The judge’s order also forbids Trump from borrowing from any financial institution chartered or registered in New York for three years, so he can’t even borrow to pay any of it from any bank in New York, an additional unfair aspect. 

So, who is going to issue a bond under such risky conditions? 

Turley noted this decision “shocked the conscience of anyone concerned about the integrity and fairness” in the NY legal system.

Many, including investors like Kevin O’Leary and Grant Cardone, blasted the decision, saying that this would adversely affect anyone who might have wanted to invest in New York and that they would now go elsewhere. Both said they would not invest in New York now. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul claimed that business people had nothing to worry about — that this only applied to Trump. Turley pointed out how that’s part of the problem. 

But the best that politicians like Hochul and Adams can offer is that you have nothing to fear from confiscatory actions unless you are Trump in New York.
Which is precisely why this decision should be overturned. 
What is clear is that this case would never have been brought, let alone result in this massive fine, except for politics.
For example, if you are the NRA, James will seek your destruction for financial irregularities, but if you are Black Lives Matter or Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, there is little real risk in such controversies.
If the only protection in New York is the discretion of figures like James, few businesses would relish the future. The message is that you can expect blind and equal justice so long as you don’t run afoul of the Democrats in power.

Business people would never know if they might come up on the wrong side of the Democrats, and that’s a scary thing, the very antithesis of the “rule of law” by which we are supposed to be governed. 

Trump attorney and spokesperson Alina Habba was still defiant, saying they would come up with the bond while calling out how disgraceful it was. 

Habba said, “What they are trying to do is put him out of business. It’s not going to work.” She deemed it a “scare tactic” and said they were picking on the “wrong guy.”  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Study Finds Fed Funding for Gun Studies Creates More Studies

Tuesday Morning Minute