Legal Analyst Eviscerates New York Judge’s Verdict In Fraud Case


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

Fox News contributor, legal analyst and law professor Jonathan Turley took the New York Judge and the entire New York legal system to task after a verdict against former President Donald Trump and his sons that was massive.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who campaigned on ‘getting’ Trump, sought $370 million in damages and a permanent ban on the former president doing any business in the state.

Engoron has ruled that Trump and his family must pay more than $350 million in fines to New York while also banning him from operating his business in the state for three years, Fox News reported.

“James had sought $370 million, plus 9% interest in penalties from Trump. Any awarded funds would go to the New York State Treasury unless directed elsewhere by the state comptroller,” the outlet continued.


Turley shredded the decision during his appearance on Fox News.

“Well, this court really proved Oscar Wilde’s rule that, ‘The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.’ Because the court has done everything short of ordering that Trump be thrown into a wood chipper. He’s imposed almost the maximum amount that James requested. He’s barring him from doing business in the city where he’s an iconic business figure, barring him from getting loans,” the professor said.

“The last part is particularly ironic because the banks not only said that they were not victims and did not complain about the alleged fraud, but they said that they wanted to do more business with Trump. They described him as a ‘whale’ client. So this is all being done essentially in their name as victims, even though no one lost any money,” he said.

“None of us could find a case like this. Yet, the first one, you have this fortune that is being demanded by the court to be turned over. I think there are real problems here. I think that this is going to have the same impact on some appellate judges. There have to be some limits, including Constitutional limits on the size of penalties, this is confiscatory and in my view, just excessive.

“You know, I think there’s a major appeal obviously that will come. I was hoping the court would defy its critics and show a more moderate response. To show that yes, there were assets that were undervalued and overvalued, but to impose a more reasonable fine,” he said.

“Many of us believed that there were cases of valuation problems. But those are ubiquitous in this field of real estate. This is extremely common for businesses to undervalue property, to try to lower tax costs, and to overvalue in securing loans. Often you look at the victims themselves to see if those practices produced the type of injury that warrants this rare action. And the victims are in court saying we’re not victims. We didn’t really take these numbers on their face,” he said.


“The court seems to have compounded the highest figures in most areas of how much could have been claimed and might have impacted loans or taxes and then imposed those costs.

“The New York law is an odd one. It does not require that anyone actually loses money. So [state AG Letitia] James was able to come in here with this figure, and she kept going on. Of course, that pleased a lot of people in New York. The question I think is whether at some point this shocks the conscience,” he said.

“You know, you have Bragg, who is prosecuting the president in a case that many of us view as just a raw political exercise. You have James who promised to bag this president for some undefined reason when she ran for office. And now you have this confiscatory, extreme, and abuse of penalty,” the professor said.

“At some point, New Yorkers have to wonder: Is this what we want from a legal system? It’s raw and it’s political. I am not saying that there was not a basis to impose a fine. But when you’re imposing fines larger than the budget of some countries, you really have to wonder whether you have allowed your impulse to run away with your judgment,” he said.

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