December 1, 2023

It’s not stunning that Donald Trump viciously insults Letitia James, the New York State legal professional basic who has taken him to court docket. What’s a bit of stunning is that he retains bashing the choose who’s attempting him, Justice Arthur Engoron, to the purpose of claiming Engoron needs to be disbarred. Trump additionally attacked Engoron’s regulation clerk, incomes Trump a stern warning. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, and also you don’t — I’d suppose — defy and needle the very one who holds your monetary destiny in his fingers.

I feel there are not less than three causes that Trump is attacking Engoron, a 74-year-old Democrat and former cabdriver, who’s presiding over Trump’s civil trial on fraud fees in New York State Supreme Court docket (which, regardless of its lofty identify, is the trial-level court docket). Two are apparent, one much less so.

One apparent cause is that Trump is livid that Engoron dominated that he inflated the worth of his property and successfully took away the licenses Trump must function his properties in New York. Billionairehood is an important element of Trump’s self-image.

One other apparent cause is that Trump likes the publicity. Trump complained that the trial took him off the presidential marketing campaign path, however in reality, his presence within the courtroom wasn’t required. He selected to be there as a result of he knew he’d get extra digicam time than if he had been working the gang in, say, Nashua, N.H.

A much less apparent cause is that Trump and his attorneys are wanting previous Engoron to the just about inevitable enchantment. That principally unstated risk popped up in court docket on Tuesday when Engoron instructed Trump’s attorneys to not reintroduce arguments that he’s already knocked down.

“That’s why we’ve got appeals,” Engoron said.

Trump may enchantment Engoron’s choice to the state Appellate Division. If he loses there, he may attempt to get the Court docket of Appeals, New York’s highest court docket, to assessment the choice. If he loses on the Court docket of Appeals, his attorneys may conceivably attempt to go to the U.S. Supreme Court docket. That will be a stretch, although, as a result of state courts are the ultimate arbiters of state regulation. To this point, Trump’s attorneys haven’t raised any points associated to federal regulation or the Structure that the U.S. Supreme Court docket may take up.

Whereas Trump and his workforce appear to treat Engoron as a misplaced trigger, there’s no assure that an Appellate Division court docket could be any extra receptive. Final week one rejected Trump’s try to delay the fraud trial and to have most of the accusations towards him thrown out.

This week I interviewed Danya Perry, who’s defending Trump’s former private lawyer Michael Cohen towards a lawsuit by Trump in federal court docket accusing Cohen of breaching his fiduciary obligation.

I requested her in regards to the Trump workforce’s technique of repeatedly citing arguments that Engoron has already rejected. She mentioned it’s what attorneys name preserving the report — ensuring that trial data embrace all arguments that they could wish to put forth on enchantment. It’s a primary precept of litigation that any argument that isn’t raised at trial can’t be raised on enchantment.

“The 4 saddest phrases from the Court docket of Enchantment are these: ‘Nice argument; not preserved,’” Robert J. Stumpf Jr. and Karin Dougan Vogel of the regulation agency Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton wrote in 2000, referring to the California appeals court docket.

Alternatively, elevating the identical points time and again — generally disparaged as papering the report — goes past what the regulation requires and may annoy the choose. Engoron has already fined 5 of Trump’s attorneys $7,500 every for making what he referred to as “indefensible” arguments.

Trump’s attorneys, in attempting to maintain their consumer glad, “could discover themselves wedged between the requirement that they protect all of their consumer’s potential arguments for an eventual enchantment and the chance of incurring extra sanctions for persevering with to make related unsuccessful and probably frivolous arguments,” Janet R. Gusdorff, an legal professional specializing in appeals, wrote to me in an electronic mail.

Then once more, Alina Habba, an outspoken member of Trump’s authorized workforce, gave no signal of feeling wedged on Monday when she referred to as her consumer the sitting president (false) and asserted that his golf course in Doral, Fla., and his Mar-a-Lago property would every promote for greater than $1 billion (additionally false, by all indications). Trump nodded approvingly.

That means a fourth cause Trump and his attorneys are difficult Engoron. It’s associated to publicity searching for however goes past it. Trump’s modus operandi is to undermine any establishment that stands as much as him, whether or not the information media or the navy or the courts. Inflicting folks to lose confidence within the judiciary could also be exactly what Trump is banking on, Gusdorff wrote, “to attenuate the results of the lawsuit and enhance voter help for his 2024 presidential bid.”

Monetary wellness amongst staff dropped to 42 p.c in June, in keeping with a latest Financial institution of America Office Advantages Report, the bottom price because the report started in 2010. Based mostly on a nationwide survey, the report additionally discovered that two-thirds of staff in June believed the price of residing was outpacing progress of their wage or wages, in contrast with 58 p.c in February 2022.

“Earlier than the Biden administration, antitrust was principally lifeless. It had picked up a bit underneath Trump, however principally nobody thought a lot about this space of regulation. And the rationale was fairly easy. Nothing was occurring. The F.T.C. was utilizing its authority to go after powerless actors, comparable to Uber drivers, church organists, bull semen merchants and ice skating lecturers.”

— Matt Stoller, “‘By no means Seen Something Like It’: The Largest Month in Antitrust in 50 Years,” Substack newsletter (Sept. 30)

Paul Krugman and I exchanged views in regards to the chance of a recession for a bit that appeared in his publication final week and within the print newspaper on Sunday. You possibly can learn it here.

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