Trump’s Documents Case: Special Master is Gone

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday in favor of the Department of Justice, and ended the review by the Special Master of seized documents as Judge Aileen Cannon had ordered.

Chief Justice John Roberts remarked in an interview, that he likes to write opinions that ordinary people can understand. Many of the opinions fall short of this goal. The Appellate Court delivered a “Roberts’ gem.” The 19 page decision gets to the point quickly. Judge Cannon did not have the right to order the Special Master review of seized documents. Donald J. Trump verses the United States of America sets out unique privileges that former presidents or any former official just don’t have.

I am certain that Judge Cannon focused on a very narrow balancing act, between the right of the Department of Justice need for documents for possible prosecution, verses Donald Trump right to have returned to him, those documents which were clearly personal items. So, I guess her thinking was that if DOJ and Trump could work out rules for a speedy review, her order would stand.

But, Judge Cannon goes from law to politics, when she goes from singular to plural in just one word. And the Appellate Court catches her, as she claims she must consider the parties need for the documents, instead of the party (Donald Trump) to support the need of the Special Master review. I can see now, why the Department of Justice needed an expediated appeals hearing. The judge was re-writing case law and setting a dangerous precedent, that makes every search warrant a balancing act between parties.

The opinion’s first line: This appeal requires us to consider whether the district court had jurisdiction to block the United States from using lawfully seized records in a criminal investigation. The answer is no. And the next 18 pages, show clearly why the Judge’s opinion lacks merits based on case law.

Then, starting on page 20, the opinion in two sentences sums up the problem with Judge Cannon’s decision. “The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so.”

There are in fact, situations where the Department of Justice will ask for a Special Master to review documents. And other times, where the search went beyond the warrant or there is client-attorney privileged documents, best handled by a third party, as a Special Master overseen by a court magistrate.

The beauty of this opinion is that the Appellate Court is crystal clear that the burden for blocking access to seized material was with Trump, and he failed to pass the “Richey Test.” On page 20, the Appellate Court states:

The Richey test has been in place for nearly fifty years; its limits apply no matter who the government is investigating. To create a special exception here would defy our Nation’s foundational principle that our law applies “to all, without regard to numbers, wealth, or rank.

Judge Aileen Cannon, who violated this principle, is not called out. That’s not the way opinions are written. But, she definitely is soundly condemned by this ruling.

The Special Master is gone. The FBI’s internal review by their filter team can begin.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Trump Finance and Documents Lawsuits

This is just a quick update.

Finance Civil Lawsuit, September 21, 2022. NY Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against Donald Trump and his three children (Eric, Ivanka and Donald, Jr) alleging a long series of highly inflated estimates of the asset values of properties owned by the Trump Organization. The inflated estimates were used to in general to obtain loans. Other false estimates were provided to insurance companies to show the Trump organization had sufficient asset to guarantee repayment of the loans. The AG explained the basis of the charges at a press conference on September 21, 2022.

The lawsuit is provided below.

As many excellent summaries of the civil lawsuit have been posted on the internet, I will not summarize the complaint, except to say it is 222 pages long, with 838 numbered paragraphs. I note the complaint provided below, is user friendly, as one can click on any of the items in the table of contents, and it will go directly to the specific paragraph. Page 213 is the “Prayer for Relief” which is way the Attorney General would like to rule against defendants. This is all up to the courts.

According to Politico:

“James’ suit relies on a special statute for repeat instances of alleged violations of the law, stemming from real estate transactions. She is also filing a criminal referral to federal prosecutors in Manhattan and a separate tax fraud referral to the IRS for the same underlying allegations.”

See Link: Trump, company and family members sued by New York AG over alleged fraud scheme

The legal pundits have indicated that it may be more than a year before this goes to trial. With so many alleged violations, if this is a trial by jury, it will be a brutal ordeal for jurors. And the criminal investigations will continue, and these can result in jail sentences for Donald Trump and gang.

In the meantime, I wonder if anyone would loan money to Trump?

The Mar-a-Lago Documents case

The Appellate Court moved at lightening speed to allow DOJ access to 100 classified documents. It is likely that Trump’s lawyer will ask the full panel of the Appellate Court to review the decision and stay the decision of the 3-judge panel while under appeal. I think this will happen quickly.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Director of the FBI: Christopher Wray

AG Merrick Garland yesterday, reminded us that the Justice Department must be unbiased, as follows:

“Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing. All Americans are entitled to the evenhanded application of the law, to due process of the law, and to the presumption of innocence.”

I think AG Merrick Garland and Director Christopher Wray make a very good team in fighting crime at all levels. The FBI investigates and Justice Department prosecutes. Frequently, the FBI works in close cooperation with local officials, like the recent arrests of Mexican drug smugglers in both Texas and Arizona.

Authorities bust multi-million-dollar drug operation with ties to Mexican drug cartels

FBI Wiretap Opens Window To Murderous Drug Gang—And A Crucial Flaw In Snapchat Privacy

Drugs come through both Texas and Arizona, so the FBI is in the perfect position to coordinate state investigations.

Christopher Wray is the 8th Director of the FBI. He was sworn in on August 2, 2017. He was nominated by Donald Trump and was confirmed by the Senate 92-5. Normally, his term is 10 years. I was very glad to see Biden keeping him on. He’s got the right education and experience for the job.

Wray’s nomination was confirmed by a GOP-led Senate, with votes from Trump allies such as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Josh Hawley of Missouri. At the time Trump called him a man of “impeccable credentials.” See Wray’s bio in the link below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_A._Wray

See how quickly the Republicans have turned against the FBI. From Ted Cruz’s tweet:

“The FBI raiding Donald Trump is unprecedented. It is corrupt & an abuse of power. What Nixon tried to do, Biden has now implemented: The Biden Admin has fully weaponized DOJ & FBI to target their political enemies. And with 87K new IRS agents, they’re coming for YOU too.”

And to respond to Ted Cruz, hopefully some of these new agents will work in the criminal investigations department (IRS-CI) and they are coming for you, particularly if your name is Kunal Kalra or Jon Woo Son:

Kunal Kalra, AKA “shecklemayne”, operation: In August 2019, Kunal Kalra operated an unlicensed Money Service Business (MSB) in which he exchanged about 25 million dollars for drug dealers, credit card fraudsters, and performed other illicit activities. Kalra owned and operated a Bitcoin Kiosk (aka Bitcoin ATM) that would allow for the exchange of large amounts of money with no Know Your Customer requirements. This is believed to be the first federal criminal case charging an unlicensed money remitting business that used a Bitcoin kiosk.

In October 2019, Welcome to Video, one of the largest Darkweb child pornography sites in the world was shut down. IRS-CI was instrumental in the investigation by the tracing the bitcoin transactions used by people from all over the world to pay for the illicit material. Jong Woo Son, a South Korean national and the administrator of the website, was arrested and an eventual seizure of the child pornography material was conducted. IRS-CI performed the operation in conjunction with other agencies: U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom and the Korean National Police.

Things are getting tougher for the IRS Criminal Investigation, given the ease at which money is transferred over the internet. Fortunately, they usually get their man with over a 90% conviction rate.

Now, I guess you can tell, tough law enforcement means you can never pick sides. Agents have to be meticulous and persistent. There’s no fear or favor as Garland put it. There can be no Republican or Democrat side, only the rule of law side.

Stay tuned,

Dave