OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A former federal prosecutor ripped New York Attorney General Letitia James for going after former President Donald Trump in a case where there is no financially injured party.
In an op-ed, Andrew McCarthy said that James is “inventing losses no one ever suffered” to try to “get Trump.”
Earlier this year, James filed a $250 million civil lawsuit against the former president and his company, the Trump Organization, alleging he inflated the value of his assets in order to get more favorable loan and insurance rates, accusing him of fraud. Trump has countered that none of the banks and other companies he did business with over the years ever lost money or were financially injured in any way.
McCarthy essentially supports Trump’s argument, writing in National Review: “The case against the former president lacks victims, so Tish James and Arthur Engoron are inventing some.”
The former prosecutor 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.
He went on to note that Engoron ruled before the trial even started that Trump had indeed committed fraud, leaving him “no incentive to litigate as if he were in a normal legal proceeding.” As such, Trump has been left to spar with the judge and the prosecutors to demonstrate that it is little more than a partisan proceeding, McCarthy wrote.
Later, he noted:
The ongoing trial that has followed Engoron’s ruling centers on what the damages for Trump’s infraction should be. There is more to it than that, as I elaborated here, but in the main the trial is about determining whether Engoron, at James’s urging, will disgorge Trump and his real-estate empire of $250 million or more in what she maintains are “ill-gotten gains.”
Obviously then, the Trump defense seeks to minimize the damages. Trump is trying to do that by denying that there was any fraud at all, arguing that his assets are worth more than what is claimed in the SFCs. But Engoron keeps cutting Trump and his lawyers off by insisting that he has already decided Trump (a) committed fraud, (b) overvalued his assets, and (c) cannot be insulated by the disclaimer in his SFCs (advising counterparties to do their own due diligence in evaluating asset values).
That has left the former president wondering why even have a trial if the outcome was predetermined, McCarthy said.
“The Trump team has made much of the fact that there are no fraud victims in this fraud case. Indeed, that is undoubtedly the reason the federal prosecutors who originally investigated the Trump organization, and then the Manhattan DA’s office that labored mightily trying to make a criminal case, both abandoned the effort. In a fraud case, it is technically not required to prove that a victim lost money, but it’s tough for prosecutors to win a jury trial without doing so,” McCarthy noted.
“The judge is so sensitive about the ‘no victims’ hole in the state’s fraud case that, in his pretrial ruling, he fined Trump’s lawyers for repeatedly bringing up this ‘completely irrelevant’ point. But James knows it’s a problem: Her reliance on prior New York precedents for the proposition that she needn’t show harm in order to disgorge profits could be attacked on appeal because she has brought an unprecedented case,” McCarthy posited, adding that the state has never brought such a lawsuit in the past, adding to Trump’s claims that he’s being targeted by Democrats in deep-blue New York.
After listing a litany of arguments that put the James-Engoron theory to shame, McCarthy concluded: “It’s an amazing thing to watch: Donald Trump, front-runner in the Republican presidential nomination race, is on trial for supposedly inventing wealth that he didn’t have; and in order to nail him, elected Democrats Tish James and Arthur Engoron are inventing losses that no one ever suffered.”