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Legal Expert Torches NY AG, Reveals True Purpose Of NY Civil Fraud Case

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


Legal expert Jonathan Turley is sounding off on New York Attorney General Letitia James for her case against former President Donald Trump.

During an interview on Fox News, host Sean Hannity and Turley spoke about a New York appeals court ruling to postpone the payment of Trump’s $454 million civil fraud penalty resulting from James’ lawsuit. Instead, the former president was instructed to pay a $175 million bond, which Trump has paid.

James had planned to take legal action against Trump’s properties in response to the recent judgment, but a bond he filed has temporarily stopped that. This pause will continue until at least September, when the state appeals court will hear Trump’s appeal against the $464 million verdict that was issued against him.

Hannity began by saying: “I would say is, if we’re going to talk about phone evaluations, I have shown on this show empty lots, two acres on the ocean in Palm Beach, for sale for a whopping $200 million. Mar-a-Lago is 22 acres, it has the oceanside, it has the inner-coastal side, it has over 58 bedrooms, other properties or cottages on the facility, it’s got two clubs associated with it, it’s in great shape, it’s a historic property, it’s worth closer to a billion. A far more egregious evaluation error, if you will, then anything they even claim Trump did. How did that get to stand, Jonathan?”

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“Well, that’s the problem, is that many of us believe that much of this cannot stand. But first he has to get in front of another judge. And the problem with the bond is that it’s being used as a punitive device. I mean, James is constantly threatening to take over these properties, like she’s going to put a lock on Trump Tower, and it’s thrilling to many people in New York,” Turley began.

“But for many of us outside New York, you look at this and you go, ‘Come on!’ I mean, you have a judge that comes up with a number that None of us can understand, and because he did that, Trump would have to sell off property in order to get someone to say that you were excessive. He could have come up with $1 billion and made it impossible to find a bond, instead of half a billion, which is almost nearly as impossible. The fact is that Trump’s business is largely in real estate,” Turley declared.

He said, “That is not good if you have to float a bond, because they want cash. And it’s just the nature of his business. Now, the judge could have recognized that. There is no — the funny thing about being in real estate is those buildings are not going anywhere. All he has to do is guarantee that he won’t leverage his interest in that property, which you can do with another device, but they are fixed assets.”

“So the judge could have said, ‘You know, we’re going to try to come up with another way of doing this so that my award is not a barrier to appeal.’ He refused. And of course, James is refusing to take any modest steps out of concern for due process. So it’s up to the New York Judiciary and the New York Bar to show the rest of the country that there is still due process here. You don’t have to like Trump to not like what’s happening in this case,” he added.

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Hannity jumped back in and asked: “Couldn’t they have simply put a lien on some of the properties that he owns? Or even if there is a mortgage on it, whatever equity is in that property, that certainly would be one way to handle it if they needed to go down that road. But apparently, the Trump people went to nine different people looking for a bond. There’s not a company in the world that they were able to find that would be able to give a half-a-billion-dollar bond. It just doesn’t exist.”

“Well, that’s why I think this is being used by James as a form of punishment. And I think it’s being used by the judge in the same way, by coming up with his big number, knowing that his assets are in real estate,” Turley said.

” There are a lot of ways that you could fulfill the purpose of a rule. The purpose of the rule is to make sure that defendants don’t empty their accounts, flee the jurisdiction, avoid payment. His assets are fixed. You can get agreements that he can’t transfer the value, he can’t leverage these buildings,” he added.

“You can accept the $100 million offer he made, in addition to those collateral guarantees. There are lots of ways to do this, but there is not a will because people are enjoying this. When you watch the news, people are thrilled. And that has merged our legal system not just with politics, but a rather sick form of entertainment.”

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