Having attended the first day of the civil fraud trial against him in New York instead of campaigning (which I suspect was the real purpose of the charges), former President Trump is also attending day two. He said he wasn’t required to attend, “but I want to watch this witch hunt myself.”
This trial is going to be so convoluted that I won’t attempt to recap every twist and turn. Fox News has a continually updated page with trial news, so I suggest you click here and check back regularly to keep up.
I’ll just comment on the major points. First of all, as ridiculous as this trial seems, it could be devastating for Trump if he can’t get it overturned on appeal. The judge has already found him guilty of wildly overvaluing his properties to lenders, even though Trump has argued, with plenty of justification, that his properties are actually worth far more than Attorney General Letitia James claims they are. Also, all the contracts had disclaimers on them about the subjective evaluations, and the lenders had a duty to do their own valuations. Even in cases where they thought Trump had overvalued the properties, they gave him the loans anyway because they knew he would pay them off with interest, and he did.
But the judge already ruled that the fact that nobody was defrauded is somehow not relevant to finding Trump guilty of fraud. The punishment he’s assessed, requiring Trump to liquidate his assets and give up doing business in New York, has been described as a “corporate death sentence.” Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, no Trump fan, writes about the Kafkaesque insanity of this trial and explains how, despite the fact that James launched a case that no other prosecutor would touch, the crazy way in which this New York law punishes business people for common practices that aren’t illegal means Trump could suffer a huge loss and have a hard time getting it reversed.
Tucker Carlson also described this case aptly as “a grotesque parody of the system our ancestors created.”
Trump’s spokesman denied "news" reports that his attorneys forgot to request a jury trial, saying, "The Attorney General filed this case under a consumer protection statute that denies the right to a jury. There was never an option to choose a jury trial. It is unfortunate that a jury won't be able to hear how absurd the merits of this case are and conclude no wrongdoing ever happened.”
His attorney Alina Habba added, “It has never been used in this way for a reason, because this judge who oversaw the special proceeding has given them everything they wanted, effectively for years. They wanted to keep it in this division as opposed to the commercial division where we would have had a normal judge. So no, everyone, I didn't forget to check a box."
Trump did get some good news out of the trial when the judge finally made a rational ruling that he would dismiss charges James wanted to bring that are beyond the statute of limitations, which would nix about 80% of the remaining charges.
On a more human level, though, I think that James may have overplayed the Democrats’ hand with her repulsive, naked partisanship. Video taken before the trial began revealed the judge mugging for the camera as if he didn’t take this seriously, while James stared daggers at Trump, showing all the world her undisguised personal hatred and bile, and the real motivations for his prosecution. No surprise, considering she ran for election on a promise to “get Trump,” and she’s ignored real criminals while abusing the powers of her office ever since to find something, anything, to charge Trump with.
Even Trump haters who believe he must’ve done something criminal have to be looking at this trial – a kangaroo court that gives kangaroos a bad name, a judge ignoring evidence and handing out death penalties like the Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland,” and a prosecutor so warped by personal animosity toward Trump that she can’t even hide it – and shuddering at the thought that this is what our criminal “justice” system has been reduced to.