Why Reality TV Star Donald Trump Is More Trusted than Most News Outlets

Today, Donald Trump is attending the first day of the fraud trial that he already substantially lost.

Depending on who you believe, he is either attending because he’s using his attendance to delay a deposition in his own lawsuit against Michael Cohen (who will also be a key witness in this fraud trial).

He cited this as his excuse for skipping out on 2 deposition days in his federal case against ex-lawyer Michael Cohen.

If he didn’t show up, he’d be in contempt of court.

Or, he’s using it as a way to affect the outcome — the outcome that was already substantially determined by Judge Engoron’s ruling last week, a ruling addressed in passing, without explaining how he can affect something that has already occurred.

For Mr. Trump, his attendance at trial is far more personal than political, according to a person familiar with his thinking. The former president is enraged by the fraud charges and furious with both the judge and the attorney general. And Mr. Trump, who is a control enthusiast, believes that trials have gone poorly for him when he hasn’t been present, and he hopes to affect the outcome this time, according to the person.

In his courthouse remarks, Mr. Trump lashed out at the judge’s earlier fraud ruling on his property valuations. “I didn’t even put in my best asset, which is the brand,” he said.

I think Trump is attending to spin a judgment that has already been issued as, instead, an outcome he predicted.


Days after the ruling.

Here’s how it works. On the way into the trial, Reality TV Star Donald Trump made a public statement in which he told his cult followers that the judge that the judge was rogue and the prosecutor was racist. He renewed his claim that Judge Engoron erred by using Palm Beach’s valuation (the one they made in 2011, not in 2021) rather than his boast that Mar-a-Lago is worth a billion dollars.

Few outlets reported that 77-year old Reality TV Star Donald Trump had slurred his words.

No one asked why his spouse hadn’t accompanied him to this trial. (Though this time, one of his co-defendant sons accompanied him to the courthouse.)

Few outlets reported Tish James’ comments about how no one is above the law.

Many outlets were so busy reporting on Reality TV Star Donald Trump’s statements that they didn’t explain that Trump’s Parking Garage Lawyer, Alina Habba, didn’t even try to push for a jury trial, something Judge Engoron confirmed as the trial started.

At least some of the outlets that reported Chris Kise’s arguments about valuation did not explain that those issues were already decided, in a ruling last week.

Most outlets reported that Reality TV Star Donald Trump glared at The Black Woman Prosecutor on his way out for lunch. Some also reported that she laughed that off.

On the way back in the courthouse, Reality TV Star Donald Trump made even more incendiary comments about the judge who already did and will decide his fate. Reality TV Star Donald Trump told his followers that the judge presiding over a trial that might lead him to lose his iconic Trump Tower should be prosecuted and was guilty of election interference.

Many observers clucked that such a stunt would lead the judge — the one who already ruled against Trump — to rule against him.

Trump is going to lose this trial. Know how I know? Judge Engoron already ruled against him!

But most of Trump’s followers don’t know that. Most of Trump’s followers believe that Chris Kise’s comments about valuation were still at issue. Most cult members will see Trump’s comments today — it won’t be hard, because every outlet is carrying them — and remember that before the trial, Trump “predicted” that The Corrupt Judge and The Black Woman Prosecutor would gang up on him.

Reality TV Show Actor Donald Trump used his presence at the trial to create a reality in which he will have correctly predicted a loss that was baked in last week. Because he “predicted” such an outcome, his millions of cult followers will not only treat him as more trustworthy than the journalists playing some role in Trump’s Reality TV Show, cluck-clucking about his attacks on justice without focusing on the fraud and the more fraud and the already adjudged fraud.

Not only will Reality TV Show Actor Donald Trump have “predicted” the outcome, leading his followers to renew their faith in his reliability, but they will implicitly trust his explanation: that he lost the trial not because he is, and has always been, a fraud, but instead because Corrupt Judges and Black Prosecutors continue to gang up on him.

And in the process, Reality TV Show Actor Donald Trump will have continued the big con, the very same fraud of which he has already been adjuged. He will have once again distracted from his own fantasy self-worth and instead led people to report on his golden brand.

When you let Reality TV Show Actor Donald Trump to set the stage, as journalists, you are yet more actors in his Reality TV creation.

It’s not that journalists are bad or biased or corrupt (though some of their editors are). It’s just that Trump already cast them in a role and they’re playing it to a T.

211 replies
  1. chas_02OCT2023_1542h says:

    Cults work that way

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too short and common (there are multiple Chas/Chaz/Charles in the community) it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • mmmCoffee42 says:

      I would say rather that TFG’s theatrics and outrageous statements make for good copy,
      and the media are willing to prostitute themselves for good copy. Easier, cheaper, maybe more profitable than doing the research and making an effort to create an informed public (as a bulwark of Democracy).

      [Moderator’s note: Please omit entering any content in the URL field as you did not list a personal homepage with your first comment, and emptywheel.net is not your personal homepage. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice of Justice Engoron to confirm that Alina Habba failed to demand a jury trial by not checking the helpful box on the form. I guess Lawyering 101 is beyond her. Unless she got a written waiver from Trump, she might start wearing outfits the color of the tires on Trump’s bus.

    • BobBobCon says:

      He’ll definitely keep that option in his pocket. He knows that there in plenty in the press who will happily let him — and only him — use a manufactured story of fury at the lawyers he chose as a sign that he is taking control, rather than losing it.

      He can take over the media cycle for at least a few days with a legal team shakeup threat because reporters and editors still think this is 2014 and there is no way to game out what he’s actually doing.

        • derelict says:

          or trump is using gaetz’ mccarthy vendetta as cover to keep more in-depth stories covering the fraud trial from dominating the news. perhaps even encouraging gaetz directly, who apparently earlier today said he wasn’t doing this yet.

        • paulka123 says:

          Kevin McCarthy
          Bring it on.
          7:31 PM Oct 2, 2023
          Matt Gaetz
          Just did.
          7:45 PM Oct 2, 2023
          Elon Musk
          This exchange is amazing
          8:28 PM Oct 2, 2023

        • Rayne says:

          Musk is such a massive narcissist that he has to stick himself into this internecine political squabble because he demands his narcissistic supply.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      I think “hepful boxes” is a key part of the Woke Agenda. It’s just one of the many tricksy tools of the Communists he’s fighting against — and saving your life in the process (he might well add).

      “Reality Television Show Actor Donald” should be acronym’d. He imbodies the RTSAD concept onto himself, like a wound imbodies a scab.

      Now comes the time when Trump must pen his own Mein Kampf — or post his own Hamlet in Xitter emoji collages — from the depths of his godforsaken denoument; “The Art of the Schlemiel” as a working title, maybe.

      • Rayne says:

        It actually surprises me that the tangerine twat waffle hasn’t already (ghost)penned a Mein Kampf as part of his fundraising grift.

        Or maybe he’s waiting until he needs to raise money for attorneys to handle an appeal for a criminal conviction. One could almost imagine him wanting to write a Letter from a DC Jail as some sort of manifesto of civil rights for corrupt rich white dudes.

        • TREPping says:

          Remember that Mein Kampf was written from prison. Here’s to hoping the DJT follows that model.

        • John Lehman says:

          “ Here’s to hoping the DJT follows that model.”

          The prison part…yes…the fomenting of another world war….God help us all

        • Rayne says:

          But Letter from a Birmingham Jail was a much smaller work — DJT might be able to handle that size work if he tweeted a couple paragraphs at a time until he had an essay, and he’d meet the threshold of a popular Black civil rights icon.

        • ColdFusion says:

          Does anyone know if there’s a collected works of Trump? I can’t imaging an anthology of his TruthSocial posts would be very flattering seen all at once.

        • chocolateislove says:

          The Daily Show had a traveling Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library (pre-covid, IIRC) and then collected those tweets into a book. So obviously it’s only tweets before Trump was removed from twitter. No follow up for the Truth Social posts, as far as I can tell.

        • HardyWeinberg3 says:

          I assume at this point he wants a ghost to pay him for the exposure from allowing him to ✍️ the for him

        • -mamake- says:

          For the record my favorite is Rayne’s ‘tangerine twat waffle.’ However, in certain company I’ll use Marcy’s Reality Television Show Actor Donald.”
          Love it!

        • Rayne says:

          RTSAD is infinitely more acceptable in mixed company. Which is kind of surprising considering Marcy’s noteworthy potty mouth as well as her history of other memorable and fitting nicknames like Big Dick Toilet Salesman.

        • Purple Martin says:

          …not to mention James “Dick Pics” Comer.

          But my private, favorite trump de plume is The Cantaloupe Caudillo.

        • Overt_Act says:

          There is a problematical assumption suggesting that TGF could write a book: his functional illiteracy. As we already know from people who had to give him written information in the White House his attention span and ability to comprehend written information are both near zero. It’s also well known that the so-called book he published was ghost-written.

          As far as we know he only seems to be able to scrawl his signature and write to-do lists on classified documents. His ability to write even a single coherent sentence has yet to be demonstrated.

      • bidrec-gap says:

        As a long time follower of both Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch I note that The Art of The Deal was written by Tony Schwartz not Trump and Murdoch purchased New York Magazine where Schwartz worked so that he could fire Tony Schwartz.

      • Purple Martin says:

        Reality Television Show Actor Donald” should be acronym’d. He imbodies the RTSAD concept onto himself, like a wound imbodies a scab.

        RTSAD pronounced Rat-Sad, I assume embodying his feelings about his lies not being accepted by the court? Apropos…I like it.

    • velcroman says:

      Any chance her failure to check the “jury trial” box could be used as grounds for a mistrial? Ineffective assistance of counsel, or something like that?

      • bmaz says:

        Why does that matter to the greater public? Such is up to the client and attorney. Can folks here PLEASE keep focused on what counts, and that is not it.

        • Lorenz N Variance says:

          As a member of the “greater public,” it matters to me what connivances Donald Trump may use to 1) escape culpability for civil and criminal offences 2) attempt to dupe his followers and/or raise money off of. I come to this site because I am not a lawyer, but I am engaged and educated. Elucidating answers are helpful, rudeness and petulance are not.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah? Then please do not insert silliness. Because that is “not helpful”. We are not Wikipedia for the uninformed.

        • Lorenz N Variance says:

          Most of us following this site are not lawyers, we are relying on those of you who are for clarity and guidance and insight. As such, honestly asked questions are not silly, they are the reason why we come here. The lawyers here should appreciate that we respect their opinions, and they should respect our right to ask for them. Most here do.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah? Then why waltz in with questions long ago answered? You have tried to “comment” under five different handles. That does not fly. Sorry!

        • Lorenz N Variance says:

          Wow, Bmaz, I am glad there are mostly polite and mature lawyers on this site, and thankful that this site provides content and opinion for those of us who took career paths other than law. If your level of disrespect and contempt were the standard here, I would have stopped reading this site long ago.

        • Lorenz N Variance says:

          The original commenter asked an honest question. You answered with bullying. I called you out on that because I am tired of reading your deprecating replies to those who are seeking clarity and guidance. Again, I am thankful that other lawyers on this site do not treat other people like you do, and I am glad this site exists. I just wish you would grow up.

        • SamForJustice says:

          At the risk of wasting my time to get more snark I will chime in on a few things.

          I don’t agree with Engeron’s ruling on Mar a Lago.

          I do agree Trump is a liar.

          I agree that Prosecutor James is just looking for headlines and the case has little to do with law.

          That is what most Trump critics don’t get. Trump supporters hate the media and liberals more than they dislike Trump. Not that they don’t see Trump as a liar, many know he is but see James and the media as worse.


          Assessment value and mortgage value are not the same.

          Engeron is correct Trump should not have made his ridiculous disclaimers. Trump should have said that based on his experience in RE as a developer his opinion is that the value is such and such and let a bank or another expert disagree.

          Trump was wrong in overstating the sf by 3x for his condo.

          How anyone can say James, Bragg, Fani Willis are not out to get him for a notch on their belt is wrong.

          Bragg’s case is the worst.

          With all that said I am not reviewing the filings so there is a slim chance to explain to the non lawyers that Trump’s team may have totally screwed up their filings giving Engeron a basis for his rulings. They may have and probably did do something stupid and leave Engeron with a choice of $18m or $1B leaving Engeron in a position to take the number closer mathematically to reality instead of what he should have done and found his own figure on valuation throwing out both unrealistic numbers.

          Trump is absolutely right to appear in person. He has a magnetic presence at times that can cow people not used to dealing with famous people.

          Trump although a liar is also smarter than he is given credit for but he is a terrible writer. He can’t communicate at a level higher than third grade.

        • Pat Neomi says:

          My favorite is this:

          “That is what most Trump critics don’t get. Trump supporters hate the media and liberals more than they dislike Trump.”

          So you’re telling me Trump supporters dislike his “enemies” more than him? That’s weird

        • velcroman says:

          You agree that Trump lied on his statements.

          As is made clear in the judge’s ruling, that alone is a violation of New York law. It doesn’t matter if the banks ignored what he said. It doesn’t matter that the banks didn’t complain. The law says that if you lie on the statements, it is a crime.

          The rest is just noise.

          The ruling goes into great detail, rebutting (sometimes for the third time) Trump’s arguments, which are similar to your arguments. Worth a read, if you want to know the truth.

        • SamForJustice says:

          Yes he lied.

          MAL is worth more than $18M on a bad day.

          Assessment value not equal loan value not equal insurance value. All are “evidence” of value for each other not determinative. Arms length sale is only true gauge of value.

          Sale of these properties is going to hurt NY real estate market.

          Trump is not a developer anymore, last 25 or more years but a property manager, promoter.

          Bmaz stick to what you think you know

        • SteveBev says:

          The problem you have is that Trump never attempted to get an assessment of what an arms length sale value of {Mar-a-Largo, subject to easement} was. He pissed around in the original documents and pissed around in the evidence. So the only basis for assessment of value at the relevant time is the assessment for the purpose of property taxation. Everyone knows this might be likely or possibly an undervaluation of an arms length valuation of the property subject to encumbrance of the easement, but it is going to be a good deal closer than the valuations based on fraud put forward by Trump then and now. Trump had the duty to report a proper valuation and the evidence is that he was orders of magnitude out.

          Even the simplest of country lawyers understands that much about the property valuation fraud here, and sophistry by you to dodge this ain’t your friend no matter how much of a property market wizz kiddy you may be.

          Evidential burden to rebut the prime facie proof of fraud. Trump couldn’t do it. Nor can you.

        • GlennDexter says:

          I wish someone would tell us what the insurance carrier for Mar a Lago in Florida has assessed the value of the property to be. I’d also like to know who his carrier is. Is it Florida’s Citizen’s Insurance by chance? Imagine the risk assessment on the beachfront property valued at over a billion dollars.

        • Scott_in_MI says:

          “Assessment value not equal loan value not equal insurance value.”

          No shit. You know who else knows that? Justice Engoron. Even I, as a relatively-well-informed layperson, understand that players in the real estate market tend to fudge the numbers a little when it’s to their benefit. The key phrase there is “a little.” The Trumps were fudging the numbers by an order of magnitude or more in some cases. As a number of podcasters have gleefully observed with regard to this case: “Pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered.”

        • Frank Anon says:

          I believe one of the planks of the Attorney General’s case is that, when useful, Trump would highly deflate the value for tax assessment purposes of the identical property he inflated for lender purposes. I recall 40 Wall Street was presented to NYC as virtually worthless as to gain a de minimus tax bill, but presented billions over value when he was in need of a loan

        • Rayne says:

          Dude, you are really bucking for a boot in the butt. Your short history of comments suggests you’re not publishing remarks in good faith.

          Especially when you make verifiably false statements like “Trump is not a developer anymore, last 25 or more years but a property manager, promoter” as if Trump International Hotel-DC never existed or Trump never pursued development of a tower in Moscow, while ignoring the Trump org golf courses acquired not just because Trump golfs but because he’s a real estate developer.

          Bring a better game here — and avoid attacking moderators — or begone.

        • SamForJustice says:

          I am going to reply after reading Judge Engoron’s opinion.

          Also I want to be clear I always said that overstating the sf of his unit by 3x was on Trump.

          I am not going to address the sanctions portion about 5 pages for arguments raised before and dismissed or the tolling agreement. I want to skip to the valuation sections and materiality sections starting about page 18.

          The case isn’t really about materiality at this point but Executive Law 63(12). Engoron says that fraud and scienter are not necessary under that law. Page 12 the OAG need only prove that the statement was false and used to repeatedly transact business.

          Trump is undoubtedlly guilty of that. I don’t believe the Judge’s discussion of materiality relating to the law for one second which I will come back to. I believe the Judge is correct that Trump overstated his assets by about $812B.

          Pages 21-34 go into documents submitted for various properties and assets including his “brand.” Everything was overstated.

          As far as what I said about Mar-a-Lago MAL I stand by that. Unlike the other sections the Judge does not cite one other valuation on behalf of the State except for the Assessor’s $18M value based on deed restrictions. Every article I read says that is a joke. I had to read the opinion a few times because I thought he was citing other values but only criticizes the net opinion of Trump’s expert without anything else but the assessment figure.

          Engoron cites Trump’s own conflicting appraisals in most of the other properties. He cites how the Trump Org didn’t disclose its own internal market value analyses to the accountants which I will characterize as keeping two sets of books.

          I did a search on NY developers, Trump was not in the top 200. He is a brand, he has to partner with the real developer (builder) and sell the property. He doesn’t build anymore because no one will lend to him and hasn’t for about 20 years+.

          Years ago I spoke to a lawyer about something and he said he was a litigator before moving to my city. He never tried a case, never was in court to question 1 witness. In his old city working in a big firm on actual cases and doing discovery but not actually going to court made him a litigator. Not to me. He isn’t a bad guy by the way but I disagree about him saying he is a litigator.

          Does the Trump Org do some rehab and some work here and there Yes. I don’t see it build from scratch. The golf courses were a way for him to buy land and operate it until he was in a position to build which rarely took place.

          He is like the Hilton Hotel name brand on buildings. They don’t build Hotels (from what I see and if I am wrong you can tell me I’m sure).

          The more I read the opinion and a few articles the more I am convinced that this is a bad case. The AG is criminalizing false statements in RE.

          The worthless disclaimer was also different than what Trump refers to it as. It is a standard disclaimer used in RE in NY from what I can tell. Now the Judge is saying you can’t do that. Fine, do it to everyone from now on. Every realtor, seller, loan applicant and prosecute (or sue under the same civil law) and shut them all down. But James isn’t going to do that. But lets see how properties get valued in NYC going forward. This decision can take 10-20% off the value of the City.

          Trump has a point about no one being damaged. The banks he dealt with were sophisticated companies, the guy who lent him money at the end to bail him out excepted.

          So I stand by what I said. James found a statute to bring Trump down and is going to do it. The statute the way Engoron interprets does not require fraud just a false or possibly wrong statement. So I say it again, lets go after everyone in NYC if Letitia James is honest. An honest court would overrule Engoron’s interpretation and say to revoke the business certificates you need actual harm to be shown. Now maybe with a 3 month trial James will show that but I doubt it.

          MAL is worth more than $18M. I read that in the event Trump sells (or loses it) the reverter disappears and it can go back to residential use which would remove the restrictions and increase the value. Now the ones who are harmed are the Palm Beach taxpayers subsidizing Trump’s and the Assessor’s value.

          Rayne you think I am a Trump fan but I’m not. What I am is a critic of Prosecutors using their unlimited power. Even bmaz said that the grand juries were a joke. “James did not have a grand jury for her ham sandwich, Bragg and Willis are mostly jokes,”

          Game set match

        • Rayne says:

          LOL You spent 844 words to say, “What bmaz said.”

          Get out of here with your weak sauce argument. I notice the “unlimited power” of prosecutors didn’t nail Trump for his conspiracy to defraud the US and obstruct justice when it came to Robert Mueller’s investigation. Or John Durham’s spiteful effort to make fetch happen.

          This isn’t a game. It’s our democracy, and your comments treat with bad faith.

        • velcroman says:

          Please do us all a favor and read the ruling. Mar-a Lago is a tiny piece. There are several other properties that had third party assessments and Trump ignored them, replacing them with his assessments of up to 10X the value.

        • Rayne says:

          How anyone can say James, Bragg, Fani Willis are not out to get him for a notch on their belt is wrong.

          Wooow. How did these two of these three prosecutors manage to get two grand juries to see there was probable cause to indict? Did James twist Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba into screwing up and not requesting a court trial for a civil case? /snark

          Get out of here with this lame sauce.

        • Rayne says:

          I did not say James had a grand jury for her civil case. Bragg and Willis did have grand juries which indicted Trump.

        • bmaz says:

          They are still jokes. The fact they ham sandwiched local GJs on what ought be federal matters is irrelevant,

      • T. McGill says:

        Velcroman, the short answer is no, lawyers can’t screw up their cases then use that as error either at trial or on appeal, otherwise too many lawyers would go that route!

        Asking for a jury is a choice, so not doing so is not technically an error, in any event. TV lawyers are now opining that it is strategically unwise, but we don’t actually have confirmation whether it was the strategy of Kise or an oops.

        Also, ineffective assistance of counsel is a defense only for the right to counsel in criminal cases. If counsel screwed up by acting contrary to their client’s wishes in a civil case, that’s a matter between them.

        • velcroman says:

          T.McGill, thanks very much for the informative response. I assumed it would not be that easy to go for a mistrial for the reasons you stated, but wanted to know for sure.

    • Narpington says:

      Or was it deliberate, to prevent a jury of the great New York people finding against their orange god, instead heaping all the ordure the internet can provide upon Judge Engoron singularly and personally?

  3. Local Oaf says:

    As I read it, Trump didn’t just glare at Ms. James on the way out of the courtroom, he went full heel lift and loomed over her. Primal intimidation is what he’s reduced himself to.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Being crude and threatening violent intimidation, especially toward women, is one of Trump’s defining characteristics. The only thing new is the target.

      • emptywheel says:

        Not just defining, but a key way he performs his manhood. His followers LOVE that he bullies Black Women. It makes them feel good about their own manhood or whiteness.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Not to quibble with the gist of your comment, but I think the underlying psychology is somewhat different. I would say less that they actually feel good about their manhood and more that they are afforded a moment’s relief from their crippling insecurities by projecting said insecurities onto someone they perceive as less than they. Imo, feeling bad about their sexuality is the motivating force behind their posturing and hysteria. Jung analyzed Hitler and the German psyche along these same lines. Underlying it all were deep-seated feelings of inadequacy.

    • BobBobCon says:

      MW’s point is that’s not what he’s reduced to. It’s stage managed the way he used to play a role with Vince McMahon and the WWE.

      He’s doing it because he senses that the press covering the trial are following a script almost as closely as the in house “reporters” at Wrestlemania were set up in advance with what Trump would be doing outside the ropes.

    • ButteredToast says:

      He attempted to intimidate Hillary Clinton this way during a 2016 debate, if I recall correctly.

      • Lisboeta says:

        Yes. He loomed behind her in an overtly threating way. But he’s a misogynist and she’s a woman.

      • fubar jack says:

        Yes! And she tried to remain composed during that debate. She should have spun on him and told him to back off. He can’t really stand up to righteous pushback from a smart woman. Such a bag of misogynistic air.

    • Narpington says:

      Reduced? He exhibited the same intimidating behaviour towards Hillary Clinton in the 2016 debate – it was creepy, offensive and completely obvious to anyone with eyes. He hasn’t evolved since then, or probably ever.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Almost Swiftian post. Thanks. When cataloguing frauds, I would add what you’ve covered before, that the Trump Org was convicted last year of criminal tax fraud. Lying to the government about his financial condition is demonstrably not new behavior for Donald Trump.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Letitia James before the start of the trial: “No matter how much money you think you may have….” Sweet.

      • e.a. foster says:

        The comment by Ms. James just cracked me up! It was worth being awake at 6;30 a.m. to watch the show begin.

        Yes, Trump is a bully and always has been. Why people like or admire bullies, is beyond me, It is doubtful Ms. James or the judge are likely to be intimidated.

        Its laughable that Trump actually thought he could get away with the declared “value” of his properties. The figure he mentioned regarding Mar a lago is ridiculous. Who would even believe his estimate? Apparently he does, but the rest of them?????

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    It is amazing how the media focuses so much on the $250 million penalty Letitia James is asking for. If imposed, penalties could be higher. But the bigger cost will be the consequences of putting Trump’s principal businesses in receivership. By putting in place a monitor last year, Barbara Jones, it will be a lot harder for the Trump’s to manipulate their assets before the receivers are put in place, if ever.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      I’ve noticed that, too. Then if Trump is bankrupt, it’s because James took the money from him, not because James exposed his entire enterprise as a house of cards.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        From what can be seen from the outside — often starting in the UK where companies have to publicly file accounts to remain in good standing — his businesses have long operated as a glorified check-kiting scheme, sluicing money from one entity to another to retain liquidity and perhaps even solvency. (Plus, he’s leveraged up to his neck.) Anything that blocks the gates puts pressure on the whole enterprise even before a potential liquidation of assets.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          He doesn’t care about being leveraged; he figures he’ll either die or he’ll weasel his way out of things before the bill comes due; which means he’s screwing his kids, who may end up having to deal with the mess.

        • algebraist says:

          It’s a thing that intergenerational wealth only lasts three generations. We’re just seeing it implode in a public way as never before.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Keeping it takes a helluva lot more discipline than the Trumps have, and a willingness to use outside professionals. Trump does everything himself or through people even less talented, whom he controls.

      • Rayne says:

        No, I’m not taking the comment above down. You published each username so that it’s publicly visible, erroneous or correct. You also published each one of the URLs so that they are publicly visible; you’d notice if you paid attention to your own comments after publication, that usernames become active links if a URL is entered in the URL field.

        Your email address errors were NOT published in the comment above because the email addresses do not appear publicly. Your last name was not shared in the comment above even though you published that yourself making it publicly visible, back when there was an editing feature and you could have corrected it yourself.

        I’ve fixed MANY of your errors. You’ve complained your comments haven’t cleared moderation though it’s because of your own repeated errors that your comments have been held up. You should have seen multiple notes over several years regarding your inconsistencies and yet you’ve continued to make repeated errors increasing moderation load — how are we supposed to see this as anything but disregard for moderation here?

        Here are several comments in which feedback was left inside the body of your comments about your errors, including one in which I begged you to address this:

        And here’s one where you complained and were told in 2020 roughly 300 comments ago to find the door if you had a problem with consistency in username/email/URL:

        As I said then, you need to rethink what this site is about — by that I mean it’s not about serving you a speedy microblogging service.

        • Rayne says:

          bmaz — care to weigh in on the claim the comments I left above may be illegal?

          You’ll note I’ve left no pornographic images, the user has been repeatedly notified of the problem, the information shared above was publicly visible.

        • vicks says:

          This is serious. I had no idea my website was accessible when you clicked on my user name, For reasons I will not share with you, I need my identity to remain private.
          Please take this shit down,

          [Moderator’s note: I’m going to do you one better, vicks/Vicks, because a site which relies on paying attention to details doesn’t need a commenter who ignores moderators and site rules and complains about problems they have brought on themselves over the course of roughly 1500 comments over multiple years’ time. You’re banned. /~Rayne – 8:00 p.m. ET]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Your question has been asked and answered several times over several posts. Briefly, in the process of appointing a receiver for a legal entity in NY, ownership and control of that entity and its assets transfers to the court.

        The receiver manages those businesses for the court, either temporarily, while, say, disputes among owners are worked out, or permanently. As the owner, the court could demand audits, etc., to verify the condition of the entity as of the date it became owner, and to facilitate the sale or transfer of its assets. In Trump’s case, it would be permanent.

        If a receiver is appointed over the Trump legal entities, s/he will assess and sell or transfer them, and dissolve the entities. Part of Engoron’s ruling would permanently prohibit Trump from doing business in NY, acting as an officer or director of a legal entity in NY, and owning NY-based real estate for five years. That bans Trump from buying what were his principal assets. He could, assuming he can finance it, buy assets of these entitles that are outside of NY. The normal owner receives the proceeds of sale, after liabilities, administrative and other costs are paid.

  7. ShallMustMay08 says:

    I’ve long envisioned his last breath as something like it was all rigged. Each court duel ratchets things up until his legal teams face serious personal monetary sanctions and the money ship sinks. He will of course continue to grift enough to pay PR to grift more. The Press will happily be his mouthpiece and dress up his complaints as hardships. For free!

    But before that breath I see him eventually refusing a federal defender in his criminal trials and insisting on pro se. Because he knows more than anyone and is the bestest. In the meantime we witness the press dereliction along with the greatest legal sh*t shows on earth brought to you by the Donald.

  8. Dave_MB says:

    Very well written. Thank you. Plus kudos for highlighting the stage managed aspect of his behavior.

  9. josh88267236 says:

    1000% accurate and likely (by now) self-evident to many of the journalists covering T. Do you suppose they are troubled by their producers or editors removing them if they don’t accept T’s artifice. Isn’t revealing the beast as audience worthy, as much of a rating bonanza, as just following along? Assuming the narrative is as polarized as are Fox and MSNBC or the WSJ and the Guardian, what part of the real action can break through?

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You updated your username to comply with site requirements recently; I am editing your comment this once from “Josh” to “josh88267236.” Future comments may not clear moderation if your username does not match. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  10. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Typically insightful post. Although the effect is the same, I don’t imagine Trump making calculations of the effect of his behavior; I believe it to be more primal than that. At core, I think reality to Trump is what he can get other people to believe is real. I think this is unconscious on his part–he truly thinks reality is what he says it is. Unfortunately for him, on some level he grasps that if his words fall in a forest with no one around, then there effectively is no sound. And of course, if his words don’t create the reality, it’s the fault of those who didn’t listen to him.

    I can’t believe I’m wasting time analyzing DJT.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I don’t know that he believes it so much as that he’s reliant on his false reality to get him what he wants. But it’s possible he can’t distinguish the two. He’s addicted to managing reality that way, he’s been successful at it for decades and it’s been extremely profitable. It is only now failing him, which he will most likely regard as existential threat to his existence.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Most definitely will regard it as an existential threat. In spades. I’m guessing he has a lot of practice glaring down existential threats. For heavens sake, don’t tell him that his hands are small!

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m of the mind that he is quite sophisticated about this. He was under the Apprentice, even if the producers had to make his vision a reality. And he’s never really missed a step since.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        I’ve read that he was necessarily heavily edited on The Apprentice. You likely know more about it than I do. It’s all speculation and, more to the point, I honestly can’t imagine what is going on in that psyche. There is some kind of genius to the manipulations, but he is manifestly stupid. I’ve grown to believe that the psychology of mass psychosis explains why his behavior works and the effects therefrom are so difficult to understand, which is to say the apparent genius is more due to the multiplying effect of some kind of mass derangement. If you don’t share the psychosis, you end up trying to make logical sense out things. It’s not normal psychology.

        • BobBobCon says:

          He’s not a genius but he’s been in the business for a long time and he knows what works.

          A snapping turtle isn’t a smart animal, but one that’s lasted a few decades has honed instincts that will let it know in an instant how to respond to much smarter mammals, including humans — hide, swim, hiss, or bite.

        • PieIsDamnGood says:

          It fulfills peoples’ emotional needs, their racist, misogynistic, and hateful needs. Why do people still listen to Alex Jones, or other conspiracy theorists? They’re getting their needs met and don’t care about reality. I think it’s pretty normal, or at least common, psychology.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Yeah, you’re forcing me to clarify. Abnormal psychology has universal aspects that, in the statistical sense, has normality. Trump is definitely not unique, and proof of that is how many people grok his vibe. I used the word deranged before–that’s what I mean about not being normal. I guess unhealthy is a more apt word, but I also mean that hopefully most of us don’t have much contact with people like DJT in our lives. I’ve been married to a benign narcissist, if there is such a thing. It was hell enough without the murderous intent.

        • PieIsDamnGood says:

          Makes sense! I just think these behaviors and word views are way more common than they’re often presented.

        • Yankee in TX says:

          I believe that Menken said that “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. It appears that Trump is merely testing this theory.

        • Ida_Lewis says:

          Best description I’ve read of Trump’s intelligence is that instead of intelligence, it’s feral cunning.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        I agree, Marcy. Trump is an opportunist through and through. I’ve known people like him who were pathological liars. Both men and women, and even children. Some of them were very obvious. Some, not so much. But all of them had impulse control issues, in one way or another. And all of them had a strong sense of entitlement. I imagine the courts have seen people like him before, just not people who were so enabled by the media like he is.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Would you say these people you’ve known are calculating? Or more like reptile brain? I have trouble imagining it.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          I’d say both. One had an IQ of 150. Very smart, very troubled. He claimed he told so many lies he couldn’t remember what the truth was anymore. Two others bragged about how they could get people to believe anything they said, regardless of whether or not it had any validity. Another spent an enormous amount of time and energy creating and projecting a specific (and false) image. A persona, inconsistent with who the person really was. All of these people eventually faced severe consequences as a result of one kind of inappropriate (and/or illegal) behavior or another.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Wow! Thanks for that! Honestly, I’m shocked at the degree of self-awareness you report. That affects my way of looking at it. Kind of stunning. Very damaged to tolerate such a potent lack of connection with their fellow humans, or so it seems to me.

        • e.a. foster says:

          Reptilian brains, I found were usually had by people who weren’t that bright. They figured out what worked as they moved up the food chain or corporate ladderand used it.
          they weren’t smart enough to plan, .
          Calculated, those were the ones with a few more brains and used them. They also usually had better social skills than the Reptilian brain types. Frequently they were also bullies.
          Its why I prefer dogs and cats to most humans.

  11. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Does anyone know if the esteemed Brandi Buchman is watching this trial? Is there a chance we will get one of her unique reports on these pages?

  12. HGillette says:

    Was a jury trial ever an option? According to the NY Times, “That’s [a bench trial] because the case was brought under a little known but powerful New York state law requiring that the matter be adjudicated at what is known as a bench trial, meaning that no jury will hear the case.”

    IANAL. That should be obvious, but I throw it out for completeness.

  13. velcroman says:

    Any chance we can send this piece to major political reporters and editors?
    Maybe certified mail to get their attention?
    I’d contribute to a GoFundMe for the postage.

    I’m only partly kidding. There must be some way to get the press to snap out of this.

  14. Matt Foley says:

    Hunter needs to run for office…any office. He’s missing out on $millions in “election donations” to pay lawyers and an airtight “election interference!” defense.

  15. boloboffin says:

    I am glad that you keep calling him Reality TV Star Donald Trump, because that is how he is playing it. The media is nothing but his confessional, and he knows it. He’s giving them footage they can edit into their local packages with all the attitude of a Real Housewife dishing on the petty b#@%&es who dare to step to him.

  16. Konny_2022 says:

    I find Marcy’s interpretation of Trump’s performance today very compelling. I wonder, however, whether he’ll be able to keep the suspense till December 22, the date to which the trial is set to last.

  17. sunflore says:

    A question from a non lawyer…Major media is reporting that this a a fraud trial, but fraud has already been determined…What are the other 8, or 9 pending determinations?

    • Tetman Callis says:

      Second through seventh causes of action —

      2d Cause — Pursuant to Executive Law § 63(12), Repeated and Persistent
      Illegality: Falsifying Business Records under New York Penal Law

      3rd Cause — Pursuant to Executive Law § 63(12) Repeated and Persistent
      Illegality: Conspiracy to Falsify Business Records under New
      York Penal Law

      4th Cause — Pursuant to Executive Law § 63(12) Persistent Illegality: Issuing
      False Financial Statements under New York Penal Law § 175.45

      5th Cause — Pursuant to Executive Law § 63(12) Repeated and Persistent
      Illegality: Conspiracy to Falsify False Financial Statements under
      New York Penal Law

      6th Cause — Pursuant to Executive Law § 63(12) Repeated and Persistent
      Illegality: Insurance Fraud under New York Penal Law § 176.05

      7th Cause — Pursuant to Executive Law § 63(12) Repeated and Persistent Fraud
      or Illegality: Conspiracy to Commit Insurance Fraud under New
      York Penal Law

      (Source — Complaint available at court’s online docket at https: //iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=q0KunqL6AzoiHioXkB85aw==&system=prod (link denatured for security).)

      • sunflore says:

        Thank-you. It reads as redundant. I will never read these actual documents.

        What do you think we should pay attention to?

        Do the lawyers on this thread think NY has solid evidence?

        What may be the weak points for on either side that we should be on the look-out for?

        What do you anticipate the defense strategy may be?

        Thank-you again :)

        • tje.esq@23 says:

          Sunflore –

          Using the link that Tetman Callis provided, reading from page ‘8 of 222′ to page ’19 of 222’ (introduction /summary of the case) details the case in a nutshell and may be all you need to read to understand the case from a ‘big-picture’ standpoint.

          If you need a text-to-speech (TTS) out-loud reader to help get through the passages, I strongly recommend
          T2S, as it allows you to screen out (prevent from being read out loud) page headers and footers, and for west coast cases, the left-sided line numbers. If you have an account onSpeechify, you can upload the pdf and have Snoop-dog, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Barack Obama voices read the case to you, although the premium voices are bonuses for paid subscribers. The advantage of speechify is that you don’t have to figure out how to use TTS on your device, which takes a couple of minutes to set up.

          These tools are essential for lawyers with dyslexia, but also helpful for lay persons trying to get through sometimes difficult ‘legaleze’ text.

          re: your other questions-
          The case is solid.
          To understand the defense or defense’s strategy or ‘theory of the case,’ watch/read arguments raised by lawyer Chris Kise. He’s the lawyer presenting Trump’s argument for the court. Habba represents other parties and I think it’s fair to say many legal minds can be puzzled by her filings and actions, and inwardly ponder and reflect for ourselves what ‘holes’ we might have in our legal training that we need to correct with continuing legal education, or what areas of law we may need to brush up on, like reading or re-learning the Rules of Civil Procedure and cases like Iqbal.

  18. RitaRita says:

    It would help if the reporters covering Trump were a bit more sophisticated about finance and law. I read a brief report in the Washington Post about the accountant for Mazar’s testimony today. As best I can tell from the report, the accountant was testifying about the value of Ivanka’s apartment which I think was leased with an option to purchase at around $8 million. Trump listed the value at $20 million. But that may not be it al all.

    When someone being interviewed is determined to lie and the reporter is not well-versed in the facts of the story or the issues, the reporter is going to be taken advantage of.

    Does anyone think that Trump’s strategy is to have one attorney (Alina Habba) is there to make arguments that will get replayed on Fox and Kise’s role is to make arguments to the judge? Trump always has his eye on the court of public opinion.

  19. SteveBev says:

    It is worth watching back the snippet of Trump lashing out at the Court house after the hearing to see the body language of Alina Habbe standing slightly behind his right shoulder.
    Despite her best efforts: poker-face she ain’t

    “This is a continuation of the single greatest witch-hunt of all time
    We have a rogue judge [Habba -gasps]
    who ruled that properties are worth a tiny fraction, one one-hundredth, [Habba- gasps]
    a tiny fraction of what they actually are.
    We have a racist attorney general who’s a horror show, who ran on the basis she’s gonna get Trump, before [ Habba -gasps]
    she even knew anything about me “

  20. bloopie2 says:

    Nice post, thank you. Anybody got a 15-second sound bite for our poor reporters, to contrast with Trump’s statements, that will win the day? Alternatively, should they simply not put Trump on the air, but instead put up a learned summary of what’s going on? Of course, if you don’t put him on the air, he will say that you are censoring him. It’s so frustrating.

  21. OldTulsaDude says:

    RTVSDT is a newsmaker. That doesn’t mean he should be handed a megaphone to repeat his lies in news footage or in newspaper quotes. A tape or photo of him entering the courthouse is enough and then an actual news person should explain reality. But Cronkite is dead so what do I know.

  22. David F. Snyder says:

    He was slurring his words when (just the other day) he said he’d prefer to be electrocuted instead of eaten by sharks.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      Children, not yet born, will one day read a history of these times with a sense of incomprehension. I can’t imagine trying to explain to them that a former president gave a speech in which he talked about a preference for electrocution over shark bite. The only thing harder would be to explain the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference.

  23. Matt Foley says:

    Leaving this here for all you Fox News fans:

    “The petitioner agrees with the determination of the property appraiser or tax collector,” Michael Corbiciero, the CEO of Trump’s tax consulting firm Marvin F. Poer & Co., attested in a letter dated Nov. 16, 2020.

    If Mar-a-Lago were a private residence, Palm Beach County real estate insiders broadly agree that it would fetch far higher than its government valuations. But Trump forfeited certain uses under the terms of deeds that he signed in 1995 and later. The former president argues that it effectively is a private residence because he now lives there, but he has benefited from the tax incentives of keeping it as a social club.

    • SteveBev says:

      The unmentionable easement is baked in to this Mar-a-Lago confection

      He wants to eat the tax breaks but have the hugely puffy croquembouche

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The former president argues whatever makes or saves him money, or enhances his nearly non-existent self-esteem. For him, consistency is a weakness and money left on the table.

      He lives in MAL not because it’s a private residence, but because he lost his job as a govt employee and landed one working for a private members’ club in southern Florida. He’s a beach bum.

  24. wa_rickf says:

    Reading comments last week at FoxNews.com after Judge Engoron handed state Attorney General Leticia James a summary judgement victory finding Donald Trump liable for fraud, the commenters there lobbied vicious attacks on the judge for making a ruling without a jury. The commenters failed to understand that both parties agreed to a summary judgment in the case. The commenters failed to understand what a summary judgment even was.

    When media outlets fail to educate their readers/viewers on how things actually work, our society ends up with many lowly-informed folks going through life not understanding the world around them and making false assumptions and coming to wrong conclusions. Donald J. Trump takes advantage of these people’s ignorance. Doing so, in my view, is abhorrent and something a pathological sociopath would do.

    These same lowly-informed also vote, and vote based upon the information, and/or lack of information, that they possess.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      What allowed DJT to be elected was a collapse of the gatekeeping the political parties used to do in smoke filled back rooms. The irony is that the democratic process of the US is actually threatened by too much democracy in the primary systems, especially the GOP which does not have superdelgates. DJT is a modern Henry Ford, Huey Long, and George Wallace all rolled into one without anyone to prevent popularity from winning out.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        What allowed Trump to be elected was Hillary not taking several swing states seriously enough due to her blinkered notion that there was no way an NYC grifter and execrable reality TV show host could even come close to beating her pedigreed ass.

        Furthermore, the “smoke filled rooms” is an apt description of how the DNC undercut Sanders’ surging populist campaign, and the acrimony and resentment that resulted from her documented Primary-season capture of that Party organ also disrupted the nominating convention and lingered into the General, losing Dem voters and reflecting that same fatal hubris.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The attitude inherent in your comment is more likely to have caused her loss to a political joke and a lifetime grifter.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          I’ve held that opinion since those things happened.

          I watched my local ME Dem primary caucus organizers hand out ballots to Bernie supporters (the Opera House was devided into sections by candidate affiliation and undecideds). When I got mine at the Bernie section, the guy handing it out (the son of the lady who was Caucus Chair) said “Fill in your personal data then hand it back to me.” I called bullshit on that and got his mom to come over (I knew her from years of Democratic activism, having been the town chair in the early oughts and having worked extensively on the Chellie Pingree Senate campaign in ’01-’02) and asked her to explain why that instruction was being given. She (a Hillary supporter) said her son was confused, and of course everyone should vote and then hand their ballots in at the end of the candidate presentations and they tried to get the already handed in ballots back to members of Bernie’s section; Hillary’s section didn’t have that problem. The visual head count (I did myself) was close to 3.5 to 1, Bernie to Hillary, with a smattering of undecideds. The Caucus result was 2 B to 1H. I asked to be in the counting room as an observer but was turned down.

          Same kind of thing happened in different ways at the State convention that year. After the national convention I had to argue with Bernie folks to get them to vote for Hillary rather than stay home (yes, I canvassed for Hillary several times that year in a neighboring reddish-purple county in District 2). A non-insigificant number of those folks were put off of politics altogether, as I witnessed. During the state convention.

          Hillary’s stand-in at the convention was Barney Franks and he basically ripped Bernie a new one, with the crowd at least 2 to 1 in Bernie’s favor. There was an uproar of course and there was one young guy who was there from Downeast, an organic farmer with his wife and two young ones, who was particularly mad and shouting from the peanut gallery. I was the one who talked him down so Barney could finish driving his last rhetorical shiv into Bernie’s assassinated character.

          If HIllary had publicly (and organizationally) laid the law down early in the primary, and forcefully, that Bernie’s people should be embraced as fellow liberals, and the contests in all the states should be treated and run with equanimity and respect, she would have wiped the lineoleum with Trump’s combover. But that didn’t happen.

          I worked my ass off to get Hillary elected because I knew that that dynamic was going to be catastrophic if we didn’t pull out all the stops. ME sent one elector for Trump from District 2.

          So yes, that’s just my opinion, based on not just national news but on first-hand experience. Sure, the Russian email hack was significant. And yes, Comey fucked up by his last minute display of Abedin’s hubby’s email stash, but it didn’t have to be that close, not by a very long shot.

        • OldTulsaDude says:

          Prior to 1972, Trump would never have prevailed as the GOP nominee because the party would have blocked him regardless of primary results.

        • wa_rickf says:

          James Comey re-opening an investigation during the beginning weeks of 2020 early general election voting, then closing the investigation a week later, essentially saying, “never mind!” affected the results.

          The 2020 Senate Report [116-290] concluded that the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian intelligence services during the 2016 presidential election posed a “grave” counterintelligence threat, detailing how associates of Donald Trump had regular contact with Russians and expected to benefit from the Kremlin affected the results of the 2020 election.

        • Overt_Act says:

          Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of the Russian disinformation campaign that was run out of the so-called Internet Research Agency. This organization was a part of the recently departed Prigozhin’s portfolio of for-profit toxic enterprises. Yes, Comey did do his part in hijacking the election, but he was only one of the many guilty parties including Fox News, a whole raft of elected Republican officials, and the deeply complicit main stream media. It took a village of criminals to put Trump into office.

          BTW, the very effective Russian disinformation campaign is active and very much kicking right now. If you have heard any conspiracy theories about the recently crashed F-35 fighter then you have encountered this propaganda. Even describing the airplane as “lost” is a part of the disinformation.

      • BirdGardener says:

        I’m going to suggest something controversial.

        One seemingly simple action political parties could take would be to require every candidate running for any office in their primary to publish the last 10 years of their tax returns (with appropriate wording for exceptions for those who legitimately don’t have 10 years of returns, such as those who are under 28 years old).

        They could also require relevant experience for higher offices. Most major corporations don’t hire inexperienced top-tier officers, do they? The parties could model their experience requirements on business and government job requirements. Republicans love to pretend that the government should be run like a business, so they should love this idea. Ahem.

        Any candidate who doesn’t like these requirements can run as an independent.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          Isn’t there a requirement in the Constitution that to be President at least, you have to be 35? If so, ten years of tax should be no problem for those running for the Big Job.

        • BirdGardener says:

          I’d like political parties to require publication of the last 10 years of tax returns before any would-be candidate can get their name on the primary ballot for any office, not just for the presidency.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          Don’t forget, you’re not talking about normal political parties. I don’t know how many are out there but the current brand of (r)epuglicons won’t agree to any regulations. I’m not sure that even the regular ones (Democrats, Progressives, …) would either.

          The best place to put on guardrails about the candidates qualifications are in the national elections.

          If a party can’t present a candidate that can show audited tax forms, and better yet a completed US Security Form SF86, then they are not valid candidates.

        • BirdGardener says:

          You’re both probably right; it’s not practical to require tax-return disclosure for low-level offices, especially since it’s already difficult to find people willing to run for some of them.

      • ButteredToast says:

        Agree 100%. The downside to a more democratic primary process is underappreciated. Smoke-filled rooms played a role in weeding out extreme and demagogic candidates, and not just at the presidential level. The current situation is also worse in the GOP because of its winner-take-all per state (as opposed to proportional) system for awarding convention delegates.

        That said, I don’t think the smoke-filled rooms would even have been necessary to stop him if the Republican base weren’t living in the alternative universe created and maintained by rightwing media.

  25. xyxyxyxy says:

    Trump “believes that trials have gone poorly for him when he hasn’t been present”, when was the last trial he attended?

    • SteveBev says:

      This trial is the exception to his stated rule that he should but probably won’t learn from.
      His misconduct in verbally abusing Justice Engoron’s clerk is grist to not only the NY sanctions mill, but surely can be taken into account elsewhere. The first attack on the clerk on Monday is on video on CNN. Trump has taken down the social media post, but nevertheless, the necessity of robust oversight of his behaviour relating to judicial proceedings is clearly established. Updates to DC filings incoming?

      Even the comments much Trumpeted by Maga an other stenographers of Trump re supposed ruling in favour of Trump yesterday evening, has been contradicted from the bench and adversely commented upon, it is being reported on CNN. Trump seems to be doing his very best to make his bad situation worse.

  26. bgThenNow says:

    I listened to RTSDT when he said essentially, “No harm, no foul, all the bills were paid, the banks were happy,” and etc. But isn’t this about how the taxpayers were cheated?

    I’ve participated in quite a lot of RE activities for a non-professional over the last 35 years. I went through a re-fi during the MERS years when my home was seriously over-valued by an appraiser who was clearly working for the bank. At the time, I was glad to have the loan approved, and it was only later when I went back and discovered what the appraiser had done, that the scheme became clear. There was never any likelihood that the loan would fail, but the appraisal was clearly bogus. And perhaps the “bank” might have had some liability somehow since what they were doing was trolling in the traunches. So I can understand his perspective that there was “no harm.”

    But all the shenanigans were about taxes as much or more than anything else. So the fraud in this trial is really about taxes and the harm to the state, not loans. No one with RE really wants their taxes to go up, but this tax scheme is quite broad in that regard. Is his political grift now more powerful than his RE “business?”

    As for his “brand,” he did this to himself. As I understand it, no one in NYC has anything but contempt for him. But his trolling the rubes has been very good for him and his ostensible “brand” which may finally see some damage, unless the political grift fails over the course of this or any future trials.

    He’s already been driven from NYC, and this case has put the nail in that coffin. Is his RE “scampire” bigger than POTUS? He’s been King of the US. It must be confusing for him to sort out, but the campaign angle is a good one. It remains his most effective scam/defense.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      The judge was particularly cogent and thorough in his response to the no harm/no foul claim. I found his argument to be completely convincing. One point made was that the banks could have charged higher interest rates had they had an honest financial picture.

      Yes, brand = ability to grift

    • Rayne says:

      One thing I have never been able to piece together well has been Trump org’s participation in the financial objects which were part of the very first failures which set off the economic pyroclastic flow in 2008. IIRC, Bear Sterns had bonds and mortgage bundles which included Trump properties (according to testimony before the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence by Fusion GPS’ Glenn Simpson), all of them in one or two offshore vehicles which crashed and set off the demand for liquidity.

      Did those bonds and mortgage bundles rely on fraudulent valuations including those on Trump properties? I’m thinking in particular of Trump Ocean Club-Panama for which Ivanka Trump fraudulently misrepresented unit sales?

      I wonder if Trump org also misrepresented their own space in that development:

      The building’s residents and condo owners had invested in the namesake, a 70-story waterfront tower along Panama Bay, on the strength of Trump’s reputation. But during the four years that Trump Panama Condominium Management LLC had managed the property, Central America’s largest building, a team installed by the Trump family was accused of running up more than $2 million in unauthorized debts, paying its executives undisclosed bonuses and withholding basic financial information from owners, according to an Associated Press examination.

      The Trumps had done all of this through fine-print chicanery, the board said. A clause in many residents’ purchase agreements prevented them from voting against the Trump company’s wishes. That allowed the Trumps to install their top employee as chairman and the residents’ representative on the board – even though the Trumps’ actual stake in the building’s residential area was merely a storage closet on the 15th floor.

      [emphasis mine]

      IOW, was Trump org’s fraud one of the contributing causes of the 2008 crash which damaged every country’s economy? Were records of that fraud among the documents burned in Panama when Trump org was booted out?

      • Sue 'em Queequeg says:

        My small niche consulting company happened to be doing work for Lehman during most of 2007, and to a lesser extent for a company that was trustee of a lot of the sub-prime securities issues (“trustee” here being an abusively misleading term, since they had no duties or powers beyond validating a few bits of bureaucratic housekeeping). In retrospect it was evident that people at both institutions knew the sub-prime market was in serious trouble by at least December 2007 and that the trouble was likely going to be about as enormous as it turned out to be.

        It would hardly be surprising if Trump’s dealings were right there in the middle of things. But that mess was so huge, with so many players that had all crammed themselves into the hot new club that then turned into the Coconut Grove, that it’s hard to imagine his own activities, however scammish, could have made a discernible difference. Perhaps one of the few instances where he’d prefer to be seen as small.

        Side note: does anyone else remember that crisis-era spoof ad that said “Buy a Toaster, get a Free Bank!”? Those were the days. /s

        • Rayne says:

          Almost everybody with a credit rating was involved in some way with the cascade in 2008. But Trump’s stuff was in the very first vehicles to set off the collapse. Was he conscious of that role at the time? Perhaps only in the way that it eventually forced Trump org to take financing from Russia as his son Eric admitted. But there has been zero effort to examine the larger effects Trump’s fraudulent business practices have had, mostly because of financial illiteracy outside of financial reporting and the inconvenience of going up against big banks like Deutsche Bank (which picked up where the deceased Bear Sterns left off).

          It’s infuriating to read Trump’s claims there are no victims when society ends up with the tab, having to backstop the corrupt financial institutions he’s used, or pay more taxes for those he’s weaseled out of to pay for damages his businesses have foisted on communities (ex. Trump National and Briarcliff Manor’s flooding).

        • Sue 'em Queequeg says:

          Nice description. Agree 100%. I do think things would likely have unfolded in a similar way without his help. The pile of dynamite was just too big. But in the actual event, there he was, helping make it a better world.

          Talk to the Germans sometime about Deutsche Bank. They’ve wrung every last drop out of “too big to fail”, and as you note, not just in their home country. (I say “wrung” but suspect “are still wringing” would be more accurate.)

          I’d not only agree that most of the non-financial media is unqualified to report on that sector’s more complicated activities but that most of those who are qualified aren’t inclined to dig there (either natively or because their superiors set their inclinations for them). Most Americans still have no idea how much the 2008 salvage efforts cost them, and are still costing them in the momentum they ended up giving to the earnings of the 0.01%.

    • Purple Martin says:

      Yes. In this state-level action, I’ve thought that the party harmed was less banks and insurance companies, than everyone in competition with Trump’s New York real estate development business. Especially those who, unlike Trump, at least tried to do business lawfully. (If I’m wrong and and no such lawful New York developers exist, well, don’t tell me…just let me hold on to my fantasy.)

      In this framework, Trump’s closest business comparison may be Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom/MCI who, during the business bubble of the late 20th century, made several consecutive bet-the-company leverage plays, using the entirety of present assets as collateral to borrow enough money to buy larger competitors. So, starting with a small Louisiana telecom, in just a few years ended up swallowing MCI to become the 2nd largest U.S. telecom (after AT&T).

      And that worked as long as the initial telecom boom was fueled by phaseover from land-lines to nearly universal cell phone use. But Bernie just kept doing the same thing, until the bubbles burst, and negative cash flow could no longer be covered by more leverage…

      What went wrong at WorldCom?

      The fraud was uncovered in June 2002 when the company’s internal audit unit led by unit vice president Cynthia Cooper discovered over $3.8 billion of fraudulent balance sheet entries. Eventually, WorldCom was forced to admit that it had overstated its assets by over $11 billion.


      Sound familiar?

      • RipNoLonger says:

        Thanks for that reminder. Most of us can’t keep track of all the swindlers out there. And more are born and groomed as we type.

  27. Harry Eagar says:

    Most outlets this, most outlets that . . .

    Which outlets?

    CNN and MSNBC did report most of the things that ‘most outlets’ are said not to have reported. Fox seems to have mostly ignored the trial. Newsmax made it into a non-stop trump rally, labeling it a ‘sham trial’ on the screen.

    (I gleaned this by switching between channels a few times during the day.)

    The NYTimes, WPost and LATimes were very late reporting anything. While the cable networks were reporting on the end of the day, they were still describing the meaningless early morning arrivals. AP was nowhere. Reuters was the only news source I checked that was more or less keeping up and reporting ascertainable facts.

    Fox and Newsmax spent most of heir energy ‘agreeing with trump that Engoron had deep-sixed
    ‘80%’ of the case. This seems to refer to something he said at close of day. Whoa! Important if true.

    But as I went to bed at midnight no one was reporting what he said. Perhaps I can find out this morning.

    Overall,I was not impressed by the reporting, but I also found extreme differences and nothing that could be fairly attributed to ‘most outlets.’

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      “Fox and Newsmax spent most of heir energy ‘agreeing with trump that Engoron had deep-sixed
      ‘80%’ of the case. This seems to refer to something he said at close of day.”

      This bit from the end of a WaPo article published this morning seem to cover that point:

      As the proceedings wound down Monday afternoon, Engoron appeared to suggest that he was open to excluding evidence related to older transactions, which Trump’s attorneys had argued should be dismissed from the case based on a recent appellate court ruling dealing with statutes of limitations.

      Trump took Engoron’s comments as a victory, saying to reporters immediately after that much of the attorney general’s case might be dismissed, which one of his attorneys echoed. James’s office later challenged that interpretation.

      On Tuesday morning, before testimony resumed, Engoron opened proceedings by saying he wanted to “clear up any misconceptions that might have arisen” over his remarks, and that he would not be dismissing claims in the case, as Trump had suggested could happen.

      Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/10/03/trump-civil-fraud-trial-ny/

  28. bloopie2 says:

    A couple of NYC litigators I spoke with believe that the lack of a request for jury trial may have been deliberate. They say that the jury pool there is largely liberal idiots; good if you’re a PI plaintiff, not so good otherwise. As usual, let’s not jump to conclusions without a factual basis. (But what’s the fun, then?)

    • ButteredToast says:

      Could the couple of litigators to whom you spoke be a little bitter about certain jury trials they’ve lost? They’re certainly unlikely to be successful if they let that attitude come through in the courtroom.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree with Neal Katyal that it’s hard to tell where his lawyers’ incompetence ends and his strategery begins. But it does seem likely that Trump concluded that Justice Engoron made a much better propaganda target than jurors drawn from the people of New York City, his home town. Hence, his decision not to ask for a jury trial. Even so, his lawyers better have that call in writing.

  30. Matt Foley says:

    “What we have here is an attempt to hurt me in the election. I don’t think the people of this country are going to stand for it.”

    Nah, he would NEVER try to incite violence.

    • BobBobCon says:

      A gigantic amount of the press coverage of Trump relies on memoryholing what he’s already done. It’s even worse than Ross Douthat in late 2020 insisting liberals were smoking dope when they echoed what the national security community was saying when they raised the risk of him using force to overturn a loss.

      He’s fully capable of doing it during or after his trials. It will be a challenge to stop him using legal and reasonable means, it may not happen, but press coverage has to treat the risk seriously.

      • harpie says:

        According to Cheney, Gerstein and Orden at this Politico article:

        […] The judge said he had warned Trump Monday “off the record” about making such comments, but that Trump had ignored him. After Trump posted the material online Tuesday, Engoron ordered him to delete the post — and it quickly disappeared from Trump’s social media site, Truth Social. […]

        “Consider this statement a gag order forbidding all parties from posting, emailing or speaking publicly about any of my staff,” Engoron said. “Failure to abide by this order will result in serious sanctions.”

        • harpie says:

          I meant to delete the second paragraph.

          [Moderator’s note: Did you mean the one beginning with the word “Consider”? I can bat clean up if you confirm. /~Rayne]

  31. Rugger_9 says:

    McCarthy is out as Speaker 210-216, the pro tem has the gavel pending election of a new Speaker.

    Does this also give an opportunity to change the rules of the House too? I’m not sure. However, I can’t see how this helps getting the budget done within the 45 days the CR bought.

  32. Matt Foley says:

    My rancher in the Philly suburbs is worth $1.5 million.*

    *If you ignore the asbestos factory next door and the railroad tracks behind it.

    If a rich Saudi prince pays my price I promise I won’t return the favor when I become POTUS. You can trust me.

  33. RMS06510 says:

    Journalists might not be biased or corrupt, but they are incredibly stupid, which makes them bad

    • Rayne says:

      That’s an incredibly broad brush you’re swinging around and with no evidence to support your claim.

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