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Appeals Court Reinstates Gag Order Against Trump In NY Civil Fraud Case

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


A state appeals court in New York has reimposed a gag order against former President Donald Trump that was issued by the judge hearing his civil fraud case.

“The ruling Thursday by a four-judge panel rejected Trump’s appeal and reinstated the orders against Trump and his lawyers, who’d repeatedly complained about the clerk in court,” NBC News reported.

“State court officials had argued the gag order was necessary because of the ‘deluge’ of threats directed at the clerk after Trump had blasted her on social media. Trump renewed his attacks on the clerk after a judge from the state Appellate Division issued a temporary stay of the order earlier this month,” the report added.

The original gag order was imposed by Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the $250 million case filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James. He has already ruled that Trump defrauded banks over the years by inflating his net worth in order to get more favorable loans.

Earlier this week, the case may have taken a turn for the worse for James following testimony by an executive with Deutsche Bank.

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Under questioning from Trump’s legal team, David Williams, “who worked on at least one of three loans Deutsche Bank made to Trump in the years before he was elected president, testified Tuesday that it’s ‘atypical, but not entirely unusual’ for the bank to cut a client’s stated asset value by 50% and approve a loan anyway, as it did with Trump,” Bloomberg News reported.

Trump attorney Jesus Suarez asked Williams, a managing director at the German-owned bank, “Is the bank capable of reaching its own judgment based on the evaluation it makes of the guarantor’s financial condition?”

“Certainly, yes,” Williams said.

Bloomberg noted further: “The suit brought last year by New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses Trump of inflating his assets by as much as $3.6 billion a year to get better terms from banks and insurers. Trump is scheduled to take the witness stand for the second time on Dec. 11, when he’s likely to double down on his earlier testimony that no banks were financially harmed by loaning to him.”

James is seeking $250 million in penalties and wants to ban Trump from doing any more business in the state of New York.

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At the end of the day, Kevin Wallace, the attorney representing James, emphasized to Judge Arthur Engoron that Wallace’s testimony doesn’t diminish the strength of the state’s case, Bloomberg reported. He clarified that the trial’s pivotal point is not whether Deutsche Bank was a victim but revolves around whether Trump knowingly fabricated and utilized false financial documents.

“The idea that you can’t lie to a bank is pretty well established,” Wallace argued.

Bloomberg added: “Trump, who denies wrongdoing and claims the case is politically motivated, is calling to the stand this week four current and former Deutsche Bank employees — including the family’s former private banker Rosemary Vrablic — as part of his defense case, seeking to flip the script on the state’s version of events. The testimony could undermine the state’s portrayal of Deutsche Bank as Trump’s biggest victim.”

Despite prosecutors’ claims, however, another legal expert accused James of inventing a crime in order to “get Trump.”

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In an op-ed, Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, argued in National Review: “The case against the former president lacks victims, so Tish James and Arthur Engoron are inventing some.”

He went on to note that if Trump had really defrauded banks out of more than $168 million, they would have no doubt sought legal remedy from him, but they never did that because they never lost money.

“That is not stopping elected progressive Democrats Letitia James and Arthur Engoron, the state attorney general and her cat’s paw in a judge’s robe, from concocting a mammoth fraud scheme masterminded by Trump in which we’re to believe the banks lost their shirts . . . but just forgot to complain about it,” he wrote.

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