The Trump children had a terrible day in court.
But even before Donald Jr. and Eric had wrapped up an unimpressive day of testimony in a New York civil fraud trial, their father raged.
Former president Donald Trump wrote on his Truth Social, “So sad to see my sons being PERSECUTED in a political Witch Hunt by this out of control, publicity seeking, New York State Judge, on a case that should have NEVER been brought.” Disgrace, Say Legal Experts!
As his legal exposure is astounding, with four pending criminal trials threatening to derail his 2024 presidential ambition, the ex-president wasted no time in launching the classic distract, discredit, and delay defence plan.
Ex-President Trump is set to testify in the civil trial on Monday, and his newest attack on Judge Arthur Engoron, who has already declared Trump, his two adult sons, and their family company, the Trump Organisation, responsible for fraud, acted as a preemptive blow. In an extraordinary election year, when the campaign trail will run through the courts as well as critical swing states, the often bizarre goings-on at the court in New York are affording early insight into how the far more high-profile and criminal cases against Trump could play out.
Trump prefers to take his legal battles to the streets.
Trump’s legal defence has grown indistinguishable from his presidential campaign as he struggles to cope with accountability imposed by trial procedures yet presents himself as a victim of political hounding. After damaging the credibility of the US electoral system among his millions of supporters with bogus allegations of fraud, the former president is now aiming to do the same thing to the American judicial system. And in typical fashion, he is painting the cases against him as “Election Interference” and attributing them to President Joe Biden, his Justice Department, and other prosecutors.
When Trump ran for president, he put his two adult sons in control of his real estate firm. Despite their authority, however, the sons denied having much to do with their father’s financial statements, which the firm used to secure loans.
That is not how I spend my time. My main interest is building. After a lengthy argument in which Assistant New York Attorney General Andrew Amer tried to demonstrate his role in the building of a Trump golf club in New York, Eric Trump stated, “I don’t focus on appraisals.”
It is alleged that Trump, his sons, and their business exaggerated the ex-president’s wealth in order to secure loans and insurance policies worth tens of millions of dollars in premium discounts. This is a civil suit, not an accusation of criminal wrongdoing, but the potential damages are high and the corporation may no longer be able to operate in New York. Therefore, it is essential for Trump’s own financial well-being, his legacy, and his family’s future.
After Amer apparently discredited Eric Trump’s assertions that he was uninvolved in his father’s financial statements, tensions rose. Eric Trump stated, “I understand we had financials as a company.” The caveat was that he said, “I was not personally aware of the statement of financial condition.” But Amer handed him an email from the company’s former financial controller Jeff McConney in 2013 in which McConney asked him to evaluate a property and included a spreadsheet with all the relevant data.
Your father’s yearly financial statement was due on September 20, 2013. You were aware of this, right? Asked Amer. In response, Eric Trump said, “It looks that way, yes.”
Both Trump sons claim they have no idea of the company’s finances while being in charge.
Despite having previously signed off on his father’s financial documents, Donald Trump Jr. now claims he was similarly oblivious of their intricacies and relied instead on accountants. Following the conclusion of his own evidence, he confidently sauntered out of court, declaring that everything had gone “really well.” Blatantly and brazenly dismissing information that clearly contradicts such remarks is another time-worn Trump strategy. After the ex-president was impeached over an account of a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that showed him seeking to exploit US military aid for a political benefit, the former president consistently asserted that he had conducted “a perfect call.”
Donald Trump Jr., outside the courthouse on Thursday, borrowed a political tactic from his father by portraying himself as the victim of a biassed investigation.
He remarked, “If we were dealing with logic and reason the way business is conducted, I think it went really well,” before adding, “Unfortunately the AG has brought forth a case that is purely a political persecution.”
Due to Engoron’s previous ruling against the Trumps on one of the accusations at issue (persistent and repetitive fraud), the trial is now focused on other claims of conspiracy and manipulating company records. It will also determine the potential financial penalty against the Republican frontrunner and his businesses.
Trump’s defence team, in an effort to establish a perception that the entire trial is unjust and the legal system that appears ready to deliver a damning judgement against him is corrupt, resorted to another familiar technique before court adjourned for the day on Thursday.
The judge’s clerk, whom Trump has repeatedly publicly criticised, earning him fines for violating a gag order, was the subject of inquiries by two of Trump’s attorneys. While discussing the possible presence of “a bit of misogyny” in the critique of the female clerk, Engoron made the following remark. Trump’s attorney Chris Kise claimed, bizarrely, “I’m not a sexist. I’ve been married for 18 years and have a beautiful daughter who’s now 17 years old. His coworker Alina Habba then spoke up in his defence, insisting that he was not a sexist. Trump is furious that the clerk is being accused by his staff of co-judging the case.
Neither Eric Trump’s testimony nor the strategy of targeting court officials seemed like a good approach, according to AWN legal commentator Shan Wu.
Wu said on “The Situation Room” that their strategy of “trying to totally distance themselves,” “saying that they know nothing about the financial statements,” and “the admission that came out from Eric” harms their credibility.
Wu said of the defense’s tactics towards Engoron’s clerk, “It is unfathomable to me why his defence counsel are using that kind of tactic here.”
Even though she is no longer a defendant in the lawsuit, Ivanka Trump, the ex-president’s eldest daughter, has been seeking to avoid appearing next week. Her attorney said in a late Thursday filing that she and her three small children would face a “undue hardship” if she were had to appear in court in the midst of the school week, far from their home in Florida.
However, the request to halt the trial until the New York appellate court could review the case was quickly refused by a higher court.
Trump uses delay tactics in other situations as well.
In another classic Trump legal move, the President’s legal team is trying to push back his trial in the federal election interference case as far as possible, possibly until after the upcoming election, which could give Trump the authority to end or disrupt many legal threats against him should he become the 47th President.
In an effort to have the case dismissed on the grounds that he is immune from prosecution on any actions he took while president, Trump’s legal team on Wednesday asked Judge Tanya Chutkan to postpone a trial scheduled to take place in March, during the heat of the GOP primary race. This week, his legal team also requested that the trial in the case regarding the ex-president’s handling of confidential materials be postponed until after the election in November.
Since the fairness of the legal system depends on defendants obtaining a hearing and using every possible remedy, Trump’s staff has the right to explore every possible legal option as they prepare for his trials. Trump’s long commercial and political career has been marked by legal manoeuvres that seem meant to tangle the courts, defer accountability, and ridicule the spirit of the protections they are supposed to provide.
The fundamental concepts of limited presidential power and the idea that everyone is equal under the law would be severely threatened by the notion that a president is free from legal accountability for anything he does in office.
A second term for Trump would put even greater strain on the boundaries of executive power set by the Constitution. On the campaign trail, Trump is displaying increasingly dictatorial tendencies, and he has already promised his followers that his second term will be focused on political “retribution.”