Trumped-Up Charges

In this week’s Takimag, our judicious doctor weighs in on Donald Trump’s latest politically motivated legal travails in New York City.

The real harm that the case has caused New York is not that done by Mr. Trump’s overestimate of the value of his assets and claims to be making a profit when he was making a loss, but that done by a trial that makes the law nothing but an instrument of political enmity that can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. This is the jurisprudence of tyranny.

One thought on “Trumped-Up Charges

  1. Colin Green

    TD has some interesting observations although I’m not sure they are all of equal weight.

    Regarding the concept of civil fraud as distinct from criminal fraud, I don’t see a problem with such a notion. English law recognises civil claims in fraud, such a fraudulent misrepresentation. The standard of proof is not the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt but the civil standard, on the balance of probabilities, but given the nature of the allegation as a general rule strong, coherent evidence is required to establish civil fraud.

    I take the point about there being no injured party and that no-one has suffered a loss. In English law there would have to be some financial loss suffered by a person or corporate body for a claim to be actionable. This appears not to be a requirement in certain kinds of case in the US, or at least the state of New York. Perhaps the nebulous loss identified by TD is sufficient. If so, this might be seen as a problem with the law, and not specifically concerning the case against Donald Trump.

    No doubt, the legal proceedings against Trump were politically motivated. My nagging doubt is this: if civil (or criminal) charges are politically motivated, does this mean there’s no case to answer, and no proper finding can be made against the Defendant? Surely even in those circumstances a case having merit can be brought, and it would seem that under the relevant law the case against Trump did have legal merit.


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