Donald Trump in King Arthur's Court
Watching Election Interference in Real Time
Former President Donald J. Trump is on trial in New York City before Judge Arthur Engoron, who looks like the kind of creepy guy you wouldn’t want to share an elevator with. He is an outspoken liberal with an animus toward Trump that he does not even bother to conceal.
Trump is on trial for something, for which nobody else in the history of this now-declining republic has ever been tried. He’s being tried in a civil case (not criminal) for taking out and repaying a loan that Judge Arthur Engoron, aka King Arthur, didn’t approve of. There is no complaining party in this case; no injured person or entity. The various players involved in the loan are all content. The only ones who are mad are some people in the New York justice system.
Imagine if you took out a car loan, got the loan, bought the car, and paid it off with interest. Now imagine that 10 years later, your state files charges against you because you overstated your income when you applied for the loan. (Maybe you did and maybe you didn’t—that’s almost irrelevant here.) The car loan people aren’t mad; you’re not mad. The loan was paid. But your state is filing charges and demanding a huge fine, because they’ve gone on record saying they don’t like you. That’s pretty much the case.
You’d think the New York court system would try to look a little less kangaroos in this matter. After all, the Trump Organization employs 22,450 people according to the website Zippia and its headquarters and many employees are based in New York City. The annual revenues of the Trump Organization are around $655 million a year. But the New York judicial system has painted a target on Trump’s back. This is not to say that the courts should not try Trump if he committed a crime. It’s to say that they shouldn’t make up crazy legal theories to cripple his business.
In case long legal briefs bore you, here is the case in very brief terms:
Trump wanted to borrow money, which all big businesses do all of the time. He was borrowing it from Deutsche Bank, a major bank based in Germany with New York offices that handles big loans. He used some of his many properties as collateral for the loan.
This was back in 2011.
Trump valued his various properties. Deutsche Bank did their own appraisals and valued the properties at less than what Trump stated, but still made the loan. This is not unusual at all in this sort of transaction.
Trump got the money from Deutsche Bank and, per the loan contract, paid it all back plus interest.
So where exactly is the crime? According to King Arthur, Trump overestimated the value of his properties.
It didn’t matter that Deutsche Bank was allowed and conducted his own appraisals, which is normal business practice. Nobody takes the word of a potential borrower of a large sum of money without doing some homework.
Deutsche Bank never complained. This is a case where the court was looking for something to charge Trump with.
This sort of thing happens all of the time in big business and even in little business. People apply for loans. When your collateral is cash, it’s easy to evaluate. If your collateral is real estate or jewelry or perhaps fine art, it get trickier. Real estate in particular fluctuates constantly and Trump had some one-of-a-kind properties that would be difficult to appraise. If your collateral is a house in a cookie-cutter development, the house is easy to appraise—it is going to fall in the range of other similar properties in that location. Unique landmark properties are harder to assess.
The real issue here is that there is no one complaining except the New York courts. Deutsche Bank never brought the charges. In fact, Deutsche Bank said that its own internal analysis of the loan supported their decision. However, in 2020, Deutsche Bank internal management wanted to distance itself from Trump because of the negative publicity that seems to dog the former President. By 2021, Deutsche Bank made good on that and will no longer lend any money to Trump but such matters are not discussed in much detail in the press.
If anyone was harmed in this debacle, it is Donald Trump—not Deutsche Bank. Also being harmed are American voters who are seeing election interference in real time. After all, Trump is not just running for President in 2024, he’s doing quite well in the polls.
What business is it of the state of New York if the real estate estimations that Trump gave were not agreeable to Letitia James, the attorney general of New York?
Letitia James has led chants before crowds of getting rid of Trump. She has frequently, loudly, and publicly vilified him. When you have an enemy in the office of Attorney General, it looks fishy when that Attorney General hauls you into court on an unprecedented charge, all while claiming to be perfectly neutral and impartial.
It appears that this the only charge that she could think of to bring against him. It is what kinder people than I have called “novel,” which means that it has never been used before. Not ever. It seems to me that if you want to haul a former President and a candidate for the Oval Office into court, you should not be testing out novel legal theories. You should have an actual case.
If they can convict Trump in a civil case (burden of proof is much lower in civil than criminal cases) for making a loan that they didn’t like (but which was agreeable to lender and creditor), how are the rest of us safe from a banana republic judge who hates us?
Remember this loan was made more than a decade ago. In some states, child molestation has a statute of limitations of five years. But applying for a loan that Letitia James doesn’t like can be tried more than a decade later?
It gets even worse. Trump ran one of the largest businesses in America, so Trump’s organization was always dealing with banks, financial institutions, and attorneys. Trump had a “Disclaimer Clause” in his documentation with each financial statement. This is not unusual, it is what might be considered standard practice in real estate work. I’ll put it here verbatim, but King Arthur did NOT allow Trump to enter this into evidence at court. That does not stop you from knowing what it says, even if King Arthur’s Court refuses to consider this statement. Avoiding any lawyerly pontifications we are not qualified to make, this seems pretty relevant.
Disclaimers provide to banks in each financial statement
Considerable judgment is necessary to interpret market data and develop the related estimates of current value. Accordingly, the estimate presented herein are not necessarily indicative of the amounts that could be realized upon the disposition of the assets or payment of the related liabilities. The use of different market assumptions and/or estimation methodologies may have a material effect on the estimated current value amounts.
Because the significance and pervasiveness of the matters discussed above make it difficult to assess their impact on the statement of financial condition, users of this financial statement should recognize that they might reach different conclusions about the financial condition of Donald J. Trump if they had access to a revised statement of financial condition without the above-referenced exceptions to accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.
King Arthur’s rejection of this text makes a mockery of the whole proceeding, which makes it a mockery of a sham. Kangaroos run better courts than this.
Salon reported an alleged “gotcha moment” on November 7, 2023, saying that Trump stated that he made the loan application with the intent to get the loan. They act like this is an admission of guilt. Trump “admitted” that he intended to get a loan! That’s a crime? So Trump should have said he applied for the loan without the goal of getting it? If you apply for a loan to buy a car in New York, you better not intend to get that loan or you’ll be in King Arthur’s Court and facing multimillion dollar fines?
We citizens better realize that what King Arthur is trying to do to Trump is just a test balloon for what they plan on doing to the rest of us. It will now be possible to bankrupt us if we get a loan (even if we pay it back) and the courts don’t like our application.
New York thinks that Trump should pay them a quarter billion dollars ($250M) for this action. As far as I can see, the real charges against Trump are borrowing money while being Donald Trump.
By the way, King Arthur also made this a “bench trial.” That means no jury. The judge alone decides on the case and King Arthur appears to have already made up his mind. He decides what evidence he will use to reach his conclusion, which, by the way, he has already reached. I think he is just going through the motions of a trial to get some face time on TV.
King Arthurs very much enjoys posing for the media. He takes off his glasses and smiles for the camera at every opportunity. (By the way, this weirdo judge has posted some nudie pictures of himself on some website we won’t mention but you can find it if you search. Just Google “Engoron nude selifes” or something like that.) What’s with Democrats and naked pictures? Please don’t look at 74-year-old King Arthur’s birthday suit pictures until you brace yourself. And, yes, these are very recent pictures.
What these sad and deranged people do not know is that this sort of persecution isn’t kryptonite to Trump. It’s spinach.
The TDS crowd makes Trump a martyr at their own peril.