MSNBC Host Stuns Her Audience As She Asks If New York Decision Was Fair To Trump


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The MSNBC audience was stunned after the verdict in a New York Civil Case that found former President Donald Trump on the receiving end of a massive fine when one of the network hosts asked about the fairness of the decision.

The verdict from Judge Engoron came on Friday and saddled the former president and his sons with $364 million in fines and banned former President Trump from being an officer in his business for 3 years, and his sons for two years each.

“You know, I’m looking for a little bit of reporting that the associated press did regarding these sorts of decisions. These sorts of investigations, these trials… They went back over 70 years and looked at all the cases that have been tried under this rule, [New York Civil Practice Law] 6312, which is used here, which doesn’t have to show harm done. It’s not the burden. You don’t have to show that anybody was hurt by your practices. There’s nobody you defrauded specifically,” host Katy Tur said to her guests, analysts Susanne Craig, Tristan Snell, and Lisa Rubin.

“They looked at 150 cases over 70 years and found there was no case where there was a ban on doing business where there wasn’t harm shown. So even though the threshold is harm shown, in the past, it has only been used to ban someone doing business when it’s been shown that somebody was hurt, say you’re selling cosmetics that are poisoning you. There’s somebody that was hurt there, the cosmetics company gets banned. Is this fair to go after Donald Trump like this in this environment is my question?” the host said.

“Tristan Snell is here. You used this, 6312 in a Trump University suit. A university that was scamming people, wasn’t actually giving them useful information for them to do business,” she said.


“And wasn’t licensed and wasn’t a university, et cetera, yes,” Snell said.

“So tell me, is it fair?” the host said.

“The notion that 6312 is a weird thing that shouldn’t be applied and so forth, this statute and the statute that was based on the Martin Act, which may be the one people are more familiar with, the Martin Act applies to securities,” Snell said.

“The Martin Act was put on the books in New York about 100 years ago. We have a lot of case law to support this. The statute is used by the AG’s office every day against all sorts of other frauds and misdeeds. The legal standard is whether there was a tendency to deceive. That’s what it is, and the legislature in New York made a public policy choice to say that was an important weapon for the AG’s office to have to vindicate the public good in this situation,” he said.

KATY TUR: And it seems like what Judge Engoron found is there was intention, not just a tendency, there was intention to deceive.

TRISTAN SNELL: Which is higher than they needed. The bar is here, the evidence went way over the bar.

KATY TUR: They said, “When confronted at trial with statements, defendant’s fact and expert witnesses denied reality and defendants failed to accept responsibility or to impose internal controls to prevent future recurrences.”

TRISTAN SNELL: Under 6312, you don’t need intent but intent becomes an aggravating factor. So that’s part of why we see the penalties so high here.

KATY TUR: I know this feels like a lot. It’s a 93-page decision. We’re all trying to go through it and figure out exactly what it means.


SUSANNE CRAIG, NEW YORK TIMES: I think, too, the interesting thing about victims is there were victims here, and they were the banks, they’re just not the most popular victims in society.

KATY TUR: Listen, I’m not arguing in anyone’s defense, they have said they didn’t feel like they lost.

SUSANNE CRAIG: They still did, and that’s the conclusion, and that’s where they’re at today. If they had known the actual facts, they would have charged a higher interest rate. So in fact, they lost money.

I think this case, and we’re going to read through it and dissect it, when you step back, it’s also a shot from the judge and part of the reason why the Attorney General brought it was to say that this sort of behavior in New York, okay, you cannot submit false statements to financial institutions, and it’s okay. And just because everybody does it doesn’t mean it’s okay. In fact, that’s a confession.

KATY TUR: Some people in real estate, businesses in real estate, have said that they’re worried about what this is going to mean going forward for their business. Is this just, tell me why they would have that concern and what you think.

SUSANNE CRAIG: I’ve covered Donald Trump’s finances for a long time, and in doing so, I have talked to people in the ecosystem about this issue, particularly of appraisals and we always go high in certain situations, talking to the IRS, we go low. there’s a range within that, I think, that’s acceptable, at least when we’ve looked at it, to the IRS. Donald Trump went far over that line, and that’s why he found himself here.

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