The Crime of the Century – Not!

In March 2022, Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against everyone he could think of connected to the DOJ Russian probe, the Clinton campaign and the Steele Dossier for damages under the RICO Act. He asked for at least 24 million dollars. Like so many of his lawsuits, it was dismissed in September with scathing comments from Judge Middlebrooks. So Trump got nothing but legal bills. Plus of course, a lot of free publicity, thanks to appearances of his attorney Alina Habba with Sean Hannity on Fox News. All pretty sad.

The Judge sanctioned Trump for filing a frivolous lawsuit. But the worst was still to come. On January 19, 2023, Trump and his lawyer had to pay Clinton and the other defendants just under one million dollars for their legal expenses.

Judge Middlebrooks let Trump have it by calling it a political manifesto and a shotgun pleading. But, his harsh language came only after he allowed Trump and his attorney, Alina Habba to “cure” obvious problems with the initial filing. Trump decided to double down, and add 80 more pages of unsupported claims.

I am thinking Trump’s big legal bill will be paid for by his “Save America” PAC. So, as usual, it is his biggest fans which Donald Trump is ripping off. The judge in the case got it right, in this lawsuit should never have been filed.

The Judge made it clear there would be no third filing, as the amended complaint was not just inadequate in any respect but was inadequate in all respects. Two strikes and you’re out.

“Here, we are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose,” he wrote.

As I was completing this blog, I discovered this blog from the Democratic Underground website which really nailed it:

Link: This is priceless! From the Court’s decision in TRUMP v. HILLARY CLINTON

Every quote is accurate. I have posted the orders of Judge Middlebrooks under “Trump’s Lawsuit” and it’s best to download the opinion. Everyone can select their favorite section. Here’s one I like:

“The deliberate use of a shotgun pleading is an abusive litigation tactic which amounts to obstruction of justice.”

Further on, the Judge states:

“I find that the pleadings here were abusive litigation tactics. The Complaint and Amended Complaint were drafted to advance a political narrative; not to address legal harm caused by any Defendant.”

I guess the only last bit I could add, is that two days after this verdict, Trump withdrew the 250 million dollar lawsuit he had filed against New York Attorney General Letitia James. See links below:

Additional links:

ABC News, January 20, 2023: Donald Trump withdraws lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James

New York Times November 11, 2022: Judge Fines Trump Lawyers in Clinton Conspiracy Suit Tossed in September

Newsweek Sept 9, 2022, Judge Threatens Trump Lawyers With Possible Sanctions Over Clinton Lawsuit

Now the gory details

Key dates are March 24, 2022 for the initial filing, June 22, 2022, amended filing, September 8, 2022 for the Order to Dismiss and January 19, 2023 for the Order to Sanction Donald Trump and lead attorney Alina Habbab for 938,000 dollars.

“Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit on March 24, 2022, alleging that “the Defendants, blinded by political ambition, orchestrated a malicious conspiracy to disseminate patently false and injurious information about Donald J. Trump and his campaign, all in the hopes of destroying his life, his political career and rigging the 2016 Presidential Election in favor of Hillary Clinton.”

Page after page, the Judge shows it is Donald Trump, not the defendants who makes incomplete unsubstantiated claims. I have posted the judge’s scathing comments of September 8, 2022 on the Pages section of the website. As I read this, I am sure the judge wanted to do exactly what Speaker Pelosi did Trump’s state of the union address – tear it up.

The Order to Dismiss on September 8, 2022 does not mince words.

“Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is 193 pages in length, with 819 numbered paragraphs. It contains 14 counts, names 31 defendants, 10 “John Does” described as fictitious and unknown persons, and 10 “ABC Corporations” identified as fictitious and unknown entities. Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is neither short nor plain, and it certainly does not establish that Plaintiff is entitled to any relief. More troubling, the claims presented in the Amended Complaint are not warranted under existing law.”

When the Judge noted problems with the lawsuit with unsubstantiated claims, he allowed Trump to fix it. The normal way would be to add more evidence or withdraw a particular complaint. Instead, Trump just kept piling in another baseless claim of criminality – wire fraud.

“The Amended Complaint alleges that the Defendants “engaged in a calculated scheme to defraud the news media, law enforcement, and counterintelligence officials for the purpose of proliferating a false narrative of collusion between Trump and Russia.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 577). Not only does Plaintiff lack standing to complain about an alleged scheme to defraud the news media, but his lawyers ignore the Supreme Court’s holdings that the federal wire fraud statute prohibits only deceptive schemes to deprive the victim of money or property.”

Page 4 of Order to Dismiss. So, clearly when told to “cure” the complaint, Trump went in the opposite direction, making more baseless accusations.

In 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed John Durham to head up an investigation of wrong doing in the origins of the Russian probe. It was supposed to find evidence that the Russian investigation was a “Witch Hunt” but has yet to find any serious legal violations. Michael Sussman was indicted for lying to the FBI, but found not guilty by a jury trial. The Judge’s commented:

“Likewise, the Amended Complaint cites copiously to the indictment of Michael Sussmann and a substantial portion of the Amended Complaint contains its allegations. But nowhere does the Amended Complaint mention Mr. Sussmann’s acquittal.” (page 9) Note that Michael Sussman was acquitted on May 31, 2022 and the amended complaint filed on June 22, 2022. For brevity I have not included the 27 citations which reference Michael Sussman.

On page 31, the judge states:

“Perplexingly, Plaintiff appears to argue that the Defendants obstructed investigation Crossfire Hurricane by contributing to the initiation of Crossfire Hurricane. That Defendants could have obstructed a proceeding by initiating it defies logic.”

In the US, anyone can sue anyone in a civil proceedings. But a private citizen needs to sue the agency of the government, not the individual. For this reason, 8 federal employees including former FBI Director, James Comey, Senator Adam Schiff, and former FBI agent, Kevin Clinesmith were removed as defendants, and the United States was added. FBI agent Clinesmith plead guilty to altering evidence in the FBI investigation (a single email) and received a one year probation sentence. I think that’s all the criminality that John Durham has proven to date. All claims of a deep state existing in the Department of Justice has apparently alluded John Durham’s investigation.

The RICO statutes were originally passed so law enforcement could go after organized crime. Later, they were used in numerous drug and financial criminal cases. In the 65 pages on the order to dismiss, Judge Middlebrooks methodically dismembers Trump’s lawsuit, and concludes on pages 63-64:

“It is not simply that I find the Amended Complaint “inadequate in any respect”; it is inadequate in nearly every respect. Defendants presented substantively identical arguments in support of dismissal in the earlier round of briefing on Plaintiff’s original Complaint. (See DEs 52, 124, 139, 141, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 149, 157, 159, 160, 163, 165). But despite this briefing, Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint failed to cure any of the deficiencies. Instead, Plaintiff added eighty new pages of largely irrelevant allegations that did nothing to salvage the legal sufficiency of his claims. The inadequacies with Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint are not “merely issues of technical pleading,” as Plaintiff contends, but fatal substantive defects that preclude Plaintiff from proceeding under any of the theories he has presented. At its core, the problem with Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint is that Plaintiff is not attempting to seek redress for any legal harm; instead, he is seeking to flaunt a two-hundred-page political manifesto outlining his grievances against those that have opposed him, and this Court is not the appropriate forum.”

A political manifesto. Wow. This is how the Order to Dismiss ends.

On January 19, 2023, the judge ruled in favor of defendants on sanctions. There were more choice words for the shotgun pleadings as he termed it. He cites other cases, which used similar strategies. The first two sentences of his order to sanctions are:

This case should never have been brought. Its inadequacy as a legal claim was evident from the start. No reasonable lawyer would have filed it. Intended for a political purpose, none of the counts of the amended complaint stated a cognizable legal claim. Thirty-one individuals and entities were needlessly harmed in order to dishonestly advance a political narrative. A continuing pattern of misuse of the courts by Mr. Trump and his lawyers undermines the rule of law, portrays judges as partisans, and diverts resources from those who have suffered actual legal harm.

In his order, he delves into how the lead attorney, Alina Habba used conservative talk show hosts, NewsMax and Sean Hannity on Fox News to misrepresent the facts in the case.

The judge continues:

Here, we are confronted with a lawsuit that should never have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose. Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries. He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the
judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer. He knew full well the impact of his actions. See Byrne, 261 F.3d at 1121. As such, I find that sanctions should be imposed upon Mr. Trump and his lead counsel, Ms. Habba.

As correctly stated from the blogger in the Democratic Underground website, to support their conspiracy theory, they used statements obtained from Russian intelligence as follows:

[From Trump’s complaint] Ratcliff’s letter stated that Clinton and her campaign conceived the false Russia collision [sic] story to protect Clinton’s presidential bid, which was at the time, in trouble because of revelations about her illegally using a private email server to handle classified information. Ratcliff confirmed in the letter that Obama, Comey and Strzok knew about it.

[Judge’s footnote] This provocative allegation stirred my curiosity, so I looked up the Ratcliff letter. The allegation in the Amended Complaint fails to mention that the information came from a Russian intelligence analysis and that Mr. Ratcliffe commented: “The IC (intelligence community) does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.” Letter from John Ratcliff, Dir. of Nat’l Intel., to Sen. Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senate (Sept. 29, 2020) https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/press/rep/releases/chairman-graham-releases-informationfrom-dni-ratcliffe-on-fbis-handling-of-crossfire-hurricane. Mr. Trump’s lawyers saw no professional impediment or irony in relying upon Russian intelligence as the good faith basis for their allegation.

Yes. We can trust Russian intelligence as we attack at least five members of the FBI, US Senator, and a host of other prominent officials.

It is likely there are more appeals before any payment is actually made. Personally, I’d like to have seen the sanctions equal to the 24 million dollars that Trump was asking for. But our legal system doesn’t work this way.

Stay tuned,

Dave

I checked Attorney Alina Habba website. It mentions a number of important cases she has worked on. Trump v. Clinton et al, isn’t one of them.

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

Trump Investigations

Just as I completed my list, a couple additional Congressional investigations appear to be starting. Congress can investigate wrong doing, but they can’t prosecute people. They can refer potential criminal actions to the Justice Department for further investigation and determination if a crime has been committed.

The list below does not include the deleted text messages from Secret Service agent’s cell phones on January 6. It does not include a pressure campaign by the Justice Department to go after Trump’s enemies including John Kerry. The allegation is very serious, as the Department of Justice has to be non-partisan in its investigations.

The list is compiled based on several websites. I particularly like a website called grid.news which seems to keep up with events. See link: Trump investigation tracker. To keep this as brief as possible, I have included only a few details and the most recent news on the cases. Please refer to the above link for more information.

Right now the Mar-a-Lago Documents case is getting the most air time. Soon, media attention will focus on the January 6 House Committee investigation, which seems to have many subplots.

Mar-a-Lago Documents case (Criminal). The DOJ has informed the court that one of the possible Special Masters proposed by Trump’s lawyers is acceptable to the DOJ. DOJ asks that only non-classified document be examined. Other issues on the scope and payment of the Special Master remain.

Trump’s tax returns to be submitted to House Ways and Means Committee (Fact Finding). Trump lost in Appellate Court on August 18, 2022 and asked for a review by full court. If this fails, Trump indicated that he will seek a review by the US Supreme Court, In my opinion, the Supreme Court will not take up this case.

NY Attorney General and Manhattan DA Office, Trump’s organization business fraud (Criminal/Civil). This case began as a civil lawsuit, but now criminal charges are likely are likely as well. The matter could go to trial in October. The matter was brought by Attorney General Leititia James and has withstood challenges from Donald Trump.

On May 18, 2021, the NY Attorney General’s spokesperson stated:

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organizations in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.” So it does sound like two trials, one for civil violations and another for criminal ones. This case is “People v Trump org.”

This is the case which compelled Trump to answer questions, and after losing the appeal, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights 440 times in August 2022:

Trump took Fifth Amendment more than 440 times in refusing to answer New York attorney general’s questions

The case “People v Trump Organization” will hopefully be heard in Court sometime later this year.

Georgia Election Interference Case (Criminal). For those who relish Donald Trump to spend time locked up, this could be the case. Hopefully, the evidence will put Trump at the center of the “Stop the Steal” movement and include the recorded phone call of Trump pressing Georgia officials to find 11,000 votes.

See link: 5 things to know about the special grand jury investigating former President Trump and his allies

January 6 House Committee (Investigative, fact finding). Public hearings to resume in September. Committee can not charge Trump or anyone else with crimes. But, the evidence so far presented is pretty damning that Trump encourage the violence on the Capital, and was very slow to take any action to prevent injury and loss of life to the Capital police.

I am hoping that more attention is put on the massive fund raising rallies Trump organized, to encourage his followers to take action to reject the election results. The submission of “fake electors” is likely to be part of the hearings, but I think the DOJ probe is already covered as a criminal matter.

January 6 Department of Justice Jan 6 investigation (Criminal). AG Merrick Garland has kept a tight lid on this investigation. “We do not comment on ongoing investigations” is often repeated by the Attorney General in response to questions and it is really for good reasons, as he builds a case against those who broke the law. Everything ultimately will be out in the open once charges are brought.

The very latest news is that over 30 subpoena have been issued by the Grand Jury investigating January 6 activities. The CBS report states: “The Justice Department is examining how money was raised and spent on alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election; efforts to submit fake “alternate” electors to Congress from states lost by Trump; and the “Stop The Steal” rally held at the Ellipse, adjacent to White House grounds, on Jan. 6, just before the Capitol riot.”

There are two grand juries hearing evidence from prosecutors. These proceedings are supposed to be secret. So, I suggest it is best to wait for actual indictments at this point. It may be next year before this happens.

Trump’s associates keep on being charged and in some cases, convicted. The former White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon was found guilty of refusing to comply with a Congressional subpoena and his conviction is under appeal. Bannon will be back in state court, after being charged with defrauding his contributors in the “Build the Wall” fund, which funneled money to himself. Stay tuned for coming attractions. Trump’s pardon let the federal charges be dropped, but it was refiled as a state fraud case.

Bannon’s spin is the big THEY are trying to shut him up, which now is getting a bit tiring. The idea of Bannon as being a leader against the Washington elites, becomes a bit more absurd when he is arrested on billionaire Guo Wengui yacht in 2020, who has his own series of legal problems. Bannon is an elite spin doctor, always looking to cash in.

CNN Steve Bannon pleads not guilty to NY state charges of money laundering, conspiracy and fraud related to border wall effort

Pete Navarro will be in court in November for refusing to comply with a January 6 congressional subpoena.

Lots of other lawsuits out there, including the Dominion Voting Systems defamation case, whose primary target is not Lou Dobbs, or Sidney Powell, but Fox News. There could be an out of court settlement. After all, it is all about money. Dominion wants 1.6 billion dollars for damage to their reputation.

CNN also tracks investigations against Trump and his organization, and also includes five individual lawsuits, ranging from Mary Trump to the Capital Police Officers. See CNN link.

I guess that’s enough. You can Google Rudy Giuliani John Eastman, Mark Meadows, and a long list of people who worked with Trump. They all have legal problems. So Trump’s lawyers need lawyers.

Trump’s counter attack fails

“A good offense is the best defense” is a good adage, but it hasn’t been particularly successful in Trump’s case. The court recently threw out his lawsuit, (Trump v Clinton) in which was a “shotgun attack” on all the baseless grievances stemming from the Russian investigation. Yes, Trump’s lawyers plan to appeal.

See Link: Trump Suit Against Hillary Clinton Dismissed as ‘Manifesto’

I believe the lawsuit as motivated by (1) Trump’s PAC has lots of money to spend on lawyers and (2) It would be the storyline for another video to be distributed by radical right wing conspiracy theorists, of which there seems to be plenty.

On May 22, 2022, Trump’s lawsuit attempting to stop the Attorney General of New York from investigating his taxes was dismissed. AG Leititia James issued the following statement:

“Time and time again, the courts have made clear that Donald J. Trump’s baseless legal challenges cannot stop our lawful investigation into his and the Trump Organization’s financial dealings,” said Attorney General James. “No one in this country can pick and choose how the law applies to them, and Donald Trump is no exception. As we have said all along, we will continue this investigation undeterred.”

Trump lost again in court on September 12, 2022, in an effort to delay the start of the trial against the Trump organization. Note, this is a criminal trial against the corporation, not Donald Trump. Per Reuters posting, “The Trump Organization, which manages golf clubs, hotels and other real estate around the world, has pleaded not guilty and faces possible fines and other penalties if convicted.”

The trial is scheduled to begin October 24, 2022. It isn’t what Trump wants before the mid-term elections.

_____

Lots can happen until then. All these lawyers need to be paid, so look forward to more “Save America” rallies, which are fund raisers for Donald Trump and friends, not political candidates. Even Mitch McConnell is complaining that Trump’s PAC does little to contribute to his selected candidates.

The more indictments are brought against Trump and his corporation, we will see more push back from Trump supporters. Conspiracies are elastic beasts, the number of evil conspirators continue to expand. to include more government officials who are doing their job. First, Trump told his followers that election results were rigged and he won by a landslide. So, he had to kick out Attorney Bill Barr, who told him it was bullshit. And, as more investigations occurred, the THEY (enemies of the people) now include President Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Department of Justice, legal system in general, FBI, etc, etc.

I guess, the very best comment came from Trevor Noah, on how active Donald Trump must be, to be involved in so many crimes in so many different areas. When does he find time to golf, organize political rallies, or even just eat and sleep?

Stay tuned,

Dave

Raid on Trump’s home

Commentators on Fox News were making all kinds of claims of how outrageous this action is, while other commentators on other cable stations were stressing that Trump often acts in defiance of the law, as if he should be given special privileges.

The Department of Justice does not comment on on-going investigations. Neither does the FBI, which would normally sign off on the search warrant as a necessity for their investigation. If it an unreasonable search, the law is on Trump side. Nothing gathered in an illegal search can used in any court case.

The former president’s protection against unreasonable searches comes from the Fourth Amendment. Prosecutors must convince a judge that the search warrant is justified based on current information. The fact that Trump’s home has been searched does not mean he has violated any law. The AG may find there is insufficient evidence to hold Donald Trump personally responsible for the removal of documents.

The Attorney General does not owe Congress an explanation as to why Trump’s home was searched. I do not believe the AG should testify in front of Congress in either an open hearing or closed session. Important information on the investigation will leak out. The Justice Department should move as quickly as possible to either bring charges or close out the investigation.

Per Bloomberg news: “All of a president’s official papers, no matter how trivial, are considered public property, not his alone, according to the Presidential Records Act of 1978. When the president leaves office, those papers go to the National Archives and later as part of a presidential library.”

Also, the article goes on to state: “Theft or destruction of federal records is a felony punishable by up to three years in prison — and disqualification from federal office. But it’s unlikely that the law applies to the office of president, because those qualifications are set out in the Constitution.”

I also have great trust in FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, and AG Merrick Garland, in following all the rules in obtaining and executing the warrant.

The independence of the Department of Justice and FBI is critical. They did not inform the White House, and that is exactly correct.

Stay tuned,

Dave

I’ll see you in court

Trump didn’t like the election results. After 62 lawsuits, not one single vote changed. But, this was pure Trump. A barrage of lawsuits. Now the tables have turned, and he’s the one in the firing range, without much to fire back.

Welcome to New York City, Mr. Trump. There is no hometown advantage here. This is where he was sued for fraud in the Trump University ($25 million) and Trump charities ($3 million).

There are a lot of cases chasing Donald Trump, but I’m keeping my eye on the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance case, because it is a criminal case, and has a good chance of finally going forward after 3 years. It began in 2018, when Trump could claim protection to his records as president. And yes, it is all about defrauding the government on taxes.

Vance has the treasure trove of the Trump’s organization tax records, courtesy of a Supreme Court ruling. Michael Cohen, Trump’s all important fixer, is helping him. Be careful of the enemies you make when you are going up, they may be the same ones you see going down. The focus with the Vance case is the legitimacy of a 46 million dollar tax break in real estate transactions. See Washington Post article for details.

A second case is spearheaded by New York Attorney General Letitia James, and yes, more real estate transaction. But this one is a civil suit, so I think it could be settled out of court. Again, the Washington Post has the details.

Now, in reference to these cases, remember those that know, don’t talk, and those that talk don’t know. Or they speculate. Vance and James can’t share tax information.

Trump can pay some of the legal fees from his PAC money, reported as “over 31 million dollars.” Sorry, these are unbelievable suckers to think “Saving America” and bailing out a billionaire with tax fraud problems are some how compatible.

If successful, Michael Cohen will likely be pleased. Likely he learned from his former boss – Revenge is sweet.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Washington Post, Lawsuits against Trump