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"Nothing Succeeds Like Excess": New York's Perverse Incentive in Pricing Trump Out of an Appeal

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  vic-eldred  •  one month ago  •  38 comments

By:   JONATHAN TURLEY

"Nothing Succeeds Like Excess": New York's Perverse Incentive in Pricing Trump Out of an Appeal
Below is my column in the New York Post on the confiscatory fines imposed on former president Donald Trump and his family and corporation. Democrats are thrilled by the over the $450 million bill facing Trump and the possibility that he could be forced to sell off property just to seek an appeal. On ABC,…

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Below is my column in the New York Post on the confiscatory fines imposed on former president Donald Trump and his family and corporation. Democrats are thrilled by the over the $450 million bill facing Trump and the possibility that he could be forced to sell off property just to seek an appeal. On ABC, New York Attorney General Letitia James declared "If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court, and we will ask the judge to seize his assets." She added menacingly "yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day." It is a curious legal system where defendants can be priced out of appeals. While Trump has ample resources and can do this without a "fire sale," it suggests that a person could be forced to sell a home to challenge its loss in court.

Here is the column:

Oscar Wilde wrote that "moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess." Justice Arthur Engoron took that line to heart with his absurd imposition of $455 million in fines and interest against Donald Trump and his corporation.

It succeeded wonderfully with New Yorkers, who celebrated the verdict like a popular public execution. It also worked wonderfully to make it difficult to appeal.

Much of the criticism of the decision focused on the unprecedented use of the law and the excessive size of the fine. 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.

Engoron then combined that unprecedented application with an equally extraordinary penalty, which is greater than the gross national product of some countries.

He disgorged hundreds of millions in a case where not one dollar was lost by anyone. Indeed, the "victims" wanted to get more business from Trump and are now being prevented from doing so by Engoron.

There is also an added inequity to Engoron's decision.

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 excessive fine and its basis raise serious statutory and constitutional questions. Many of us believe it should be substantially reduced or tossed out entirely.

First, however, Trump must come up with almost half a billion dollars to park with the court. Even with a bond, the high costs of securing a guarantor could come at a premium. It would cost a fortune to the bond holder just to carry the risk even if Trump prevails on appeal.

The combination of the draconian fine and the threshold deposit for appeal has produced a shudder throughout the New York business community. The city is already experiencing an exodus of businesses and individuals from the top tax brackets. Rising crime, taxes, and eat-the-rich politics have made New York a hostile environment for businesses. At a time with rising costs from undocumented migrants, even Mayor Eric Adams is alarmed about the loss of his high earners.

The case brought by Attorney General Letitia James was unnerving for many. James previously sought to dissolve the National Rifle Association and campaigned on bagging Trump on some unnamed offense. The ecstasy expressed by many in the city reinforced the image of a thrill-kill chase around the island of Manhattan, like a corporate version of "Lord of the Flies."

Watching the celebrations probably caused many executives to check time shares in Florida. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has rushed to assure businesses that there is "nothing to worry about" after the corporate public execution of Trump and his company.

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.

If you are unpopular, you could be looking at not only unprecedented actions and fines, but a need to virtually liquidate your assets just to be able to appeal a decision.

This should shock the conscience of anyone concerned about the integrity and fairness of the New York legal system. Confiscatory fines and required deposits leave not just defendants but the entire system bankrupt.



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Jonathan Turley is an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    one month ago

I guess the key word is "perverse."

They want to bankrupt Trump so he can't appeal their bogus ruling.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
1.1  Ozzwald  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    one month ago

If you can't pay the fine, don't commit the crime.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
1.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1    one month ago

"It is a curious legal system where defendants can be priced out of appeals. While Trump has ample resources and can do this without a "fire sale," it suggests that a person could be forced to sell a home to challenge its loss in court."

And you're perfectly fine with this perversion of justice as practiced by the left and their lacky's in the court system. Simply because it's Trump? It's obvious what the Dems are trying to do and it sure strains the boundaries of legality.

It's likely that Trump will simply ignore to pay unless and until an appeal is heard. And what crime did the judge say he committed? Dems are gonna face plant on this latest bit of chicanery.

"What is clear is that this case would never have been brought, let alone result in this massive fine, except for politics."

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
1.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.1    one month ago
"What is clear is that this case would never have been brought, let alone result in this massive fine, except for politics."

The fine matches the crime.  How much did he defraud New York and the banks for when he over and under valued his properties?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Sean Treacy  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.2    one month ago
How much did he defraud New York and the banks for when he over and under valued his properties?

Per the state of New York and the banks, Zero. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
1.1.4  Greg Jones  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.2    one month ago
"How much did he defraud New York and the banks for when he over and under valued his properties?"

Not one thin dime. In fact, they would welcome more business from him in the future This is how the game is played in commercial real estate, but you can't be expected to know anything about that. The banks aren't stupid, but the politicians and bought and paid for judges appear to be real idiots.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.5  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.4    one month ago

Hilarious, the former 'president' and magats are smarter than all the attorneys and judges trying the former 'president's' cases.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.1.6  evilone  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.1    one month ago
It's likely that Trump will simply ignore to pay unless and until an appeal is heard.

Trump can't file an appeal without posting the bond. He has until the end of the month to file. If he defaults the judgment is rendered and DA says she's ready seize assets. She would first need to petition the court, but I see no reason why they wouldn't allow her to do so. Again that will take time while Trump can continue to raise money to pay the debt that's still accruing interest at 9% per day.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Expert
1.1.7  MrFrost  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1.3    one month ago

Per the state of New York and the banks, Zero. 

Fraud is a crime. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.2  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    one month ago
Even for Trump, $455 million is hard to come by.

trump says he's rich. none of his own money has been spent to pay his lawyers. trump said in a deposition 11 months ago that trumpco had over $400 million cash and it was growing. he got a bond for the e jean carroll appeal. he has until next monday to post the cash or the bond for the fraud appeal. he can pay up or shut up.

my guess is that this is another stall attempt and he'll drop the appeal while playing the victim card to save financial face and fund raise off it. I really enjoy watching the collapse of any major scam, especially when the perpetrator's ego obscures their judgement and creates a lot of collateral financial damage among his inner circle.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Tessylo  replied to  devangelical @1.2    one month ago

Seriously and how much was the initial judgement by Engoron?  And EJ Carroll?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
1.2.2  Greg Jones  replied to  Tessylo @1.2.1    one month ago

Way too much.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.2.3  Tessylo  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2.2    one month ago

The fucking moron ensured that it was much higher

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2  Sean Treacy    one month ago

More lawfare. Justice isn’t the goal.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Expert
2.1  MrFrost  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    one month ago
More lawfare.

Easy to avoid; stop committing crimes. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  MrFrost @2.1    one month ago
asy to avoid; stop committing crimes. 

This has nothing to do with a crime. It's a civil matter. 

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Expert
2.1.2  MrFrost  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.1    one month ago

This has nothing to do with a crime. It's a civil matter. 

Fraud is a crime, Sean, feel free to look it up. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.1.3  Sean Treacy  replied to  MrFrost @2.1.2    one month ago
raud is a crime, Sean, feel free to look it up. 

It sure is. If he committed it, the State of New York would have charged him criminally. 

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Expert
2.1.4  MrFrost  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.3    one month ago
If he committed it, the State of New York would have charged him criminally. 

There is a difference between civil and criminal, you know that, right?

 
 
 
George
Junior Expert
2.1.5  George  replied to  MrFrost @2.1.4    one month ago

It’s obvious you don’t.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.1.6  Sean Treacy  replied to  MrFrost @2.1.4    one month ago

 a difference between civil and criminal, you know that, right?

Do you? Trump was sued civilly, not charged criminally.  Fraud is a crime in New York.  If he commited a crime, he would be charged criminally. What part don't you understand? 

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
2.1.7  Krishna  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.1    one month ago

This has nothing to do with a crime. It's a civil matter. 

Definition of a crime:

An action or omission  that constitutes an offense that may be  prosecuted  by the state and is  punishable  by law.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    one month ago

When trump was running for president in 2016 he claimed he was worth $10 billion.   what happened to all the money?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago

Donald Trump Claims That He's Worth $10 Billion - NBC News

Web Jul 15, 2015  · Donald  Trump 's campaign  claims  that he is  worth  over $ 10 billion   and that he made $362 million in income last year. His campaign made the estimate in a press …

  • Estimated Reading Time:   2 mins
 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
3.1.1  Krishna  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    one month ago
Estimated Reading Time:   2 mins

I must be smart-- I read that comment in under 1 min!

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
3.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago
what happened to all the money?

A lot of it probably went to lawyers since the democrats pulled out all the stops for the last nine years attempting ANYTHING to get Trump.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.2.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @3.2    one month ago

He either doesn't pay his legal bills or gets someone else to pay them.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
3.2.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JohnRussell @3.2.1    one month ago

Source?

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Expert
3.2.3  MrFrost  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @3.2    one month ago
A lot of it probably went to lawyers

Weird, Obama was in office for 8 years, never hired one lawyer. Trump has gone through HERDS of lawyers. Why? Because the man is a criminal. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
3.2.4  Sean Treacy  replied to  MrFrost @3.2.3    one month ago
a was in office for 8 years, never hired one lawyer

Yes he did. I guess he was a criminal too. 

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Expert
3.2.5  MrFrost  replied to  Sean Treacy @3.2.4    one month ago
I guess he was a criminal too. 

LOL! 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.3  devangelical  replied to  JohnRussell @3    one month ago

... most of it was invested and lost in a business that was incompetently run by a family of con artists.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.3.1  JohnRussell  replied to  devangelical @3.3    one month ago

His parents (illegally) gave him a $400 million inheritance and he blew it all. The reason he took The Apprentice tv gig is because he was broke. 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
3.3.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JohnRussell @3.3.1    one month ago

In today's dollars. Equivalent to $218million in 1990

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
4  JBB    one month ago

I expect the Russians or the Saudis will finance (bet on) Trump's appeal...

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Expert
4.1  Krishna  replied to  JBB @4    one month ago

Anyone remember this?

When the Kushner Companies purchased  666 Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan in early 2007 for a record-breaking price of $1.8 billion, it was supposed to be a center of their real estate portfolio.

Instead, the Kushners have struggled to cover their debt on the troubled building since shortly after its purchase on the eve of the financial crisis. As Jared Kushner’s father-in-law, Donald J. Trump, was running for President, the Kushners were pitching Qatari investors to help bail out the building.

And just weeks after his father Charles reportedly failed to reach a deal with Qatar’s minister of finance, Jared Kushner, in his capacity as a senior adviser to President Trump, reportedly played a central role   in supporting a blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Kushner never disclosed his meeting with Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the blockade to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the time. Later, a financial company tied to Qatar brokered an especially valuable deal to rescue the Kushner Companies’ property at 666 Fifth Avenue.

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Expert
5  MrFrost    one month ago

No one in their right mind is going to loan trump money. He's broke. 

 
 
 
MrFrost
Professor Expert
6  MrFrost    one month ago
Democrats are thrilled by the over the $450 million bill facing Trump and the possibility that he could be forced to sell off property just to seek an appeal.

Thrilled? Not really. Funny? Yes. 

As the kids would say today... Trump fucked around and found out. 

 
 

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