The last time we checked in on the legal comings and goings of Donald Trump, things were not looking so hot for the former president of the United States. In addition to being the defendant in no fewer than 29 lawsuits, per The Washington Post, he was the subject of numerous criminal investigations, including one in which attorneys had obtained access to his tax returns—documents that for some reason he spent the last four years fighting tooth and nail to keep secret. Now, two and half months after leaving the White House, have Trump‘s legal fortunes miraculously improved? In a word, no. In three words, hell fuck no. In 19 words, the 45th president of the United States should probably just resign himself to the prospect of going to prison.
On Wednesday The New York Times reported that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which is investigating Trump for possible bank, tax, and insurance fraud, had subpoenaed the personal bank records of Allen Weisselberg, a significant escalation in its quest to flip the longtime Trump Organization chief financial officer. Weisselberg has kept Trump’s books since the ’80s and became CFO of the family business in 2000, once describing himself in a deposition as Trump’s “eyes and ears…from an economic standpoint.” Perhaps most crucially, Weisselberg has testified about Trump matters in the past, in exchange for personal protection; in 2018, he was granted federal immunity to provide information concerning the hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels.
Per the Times:
In recent weeks, the prosecutors have trained their focus on the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, in what appears to be a determined effort to gain his cooperation. Mr. Weisselberg, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, has overseen the Trump Organization’s finances for decades and may hold the key to any possible criminal case in New York against the former president and his family business…. It is unclear whether Mr. Weisselberg would cooperate with the investigation and neither his lawyer, Mary E. Mulligan, nor [D.A. Cyrus] Vance’s office would comment. But if a review of his personal finances were to uncover possible wrongdoing, prosecutors could then use that information to press Mr. Weisselberg to guide them through the inner workings of the company.
Separately, the prosecutors are also seeking a new round of internal documents from the Trump Organization, including general ledgers from several of its more than two dozen properties that the company did not turn over last year, according to the people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details. The ledgers offer a line-by-line breakdown of each property’s financial situation, including daily receipts, checks, and revenues. The prosecutors could compare those details against the information the company provided to its lenders and local tax authorities to assess whether it fraudulently misled them.
In addition to the developments in the Manhattan D.A.’s criminal probe, Trump was also sued on Tuesday by two Capitol Police officers who battled the angry mob he sicced on the Capitol building and are demanding damages for the physical and emotional injuries they suffered during the attack. In the federal lawsuit, officers James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby claim that for months Trump whipped his supporters into a frenzy over baseless election claims which culminated in the insurrection that left five people dead.
Per The Washington Post:
Blassingame and Hemby watched as the crowd [at the “Stop the Steal” rally] grew by the hour. Hemby remained at his post blocking the Capitol steps until a wave of people dressed in Trump and Make America Great Again gear and carrying large Trump flags breached barriers around 2 p.m., the suit states. The crowd, which was aggressive and outnumbered the officers, then chased Hemby and his colleagues to the top of the stairs and forced them against the door, the suit states. Hemby attempted to hold the insurrectionists back but they crushed him against the door, he said.
“Officer Hemby was attacked relentlessly,” the suit states. “He was bleeding from a cut located less than an inch from his eye. He had cuts and abrasions on his face and hands and his body was pinned against a large metal door, fending off attacks.” The mob, which yelled “fight for Trump” and “stop the steal,” struck him with their fists and whatever they had at hand, Hemby said. They also threw objects at him and sprayed him with chemicals that irritated his eyes, skin and throat.
Meanwhile, Blassingame, who had been ordered to move from his original post and was already inside the Capitol, was corralled on the first floor by “enraged” and “inflamed” insurrectionists who chanted “It’s our right!” and “Our house!” according to the suit. The mob threw items at Blassingame and the other officers and struck them with their fists and weapons, including flagpoles and stanchions. “The threats and attacks on Officer Blassingame seemed endless,” the suit states. Then, a surge of insurrectionists pushed forward and slammed Blassingame against a stone column, he said. He struck his spine and the back of his head and was unable to move.
According to the suit, Blassingame suffered injuries to his head and back and, over the next several months, experienced depression and guilt for not being able to help other colleagues. Hemby suffered injuries to his left hand, left knee, back, and neck and is in physical therapy two to three times a week; as is the case with Blassingame, Hemby says he’s still experiencing emotional trauma from the events set into motion by Trump. While this is the first suit brought by Capitol Police officers against Trump, it is likely not the last. Patrick Malone, an attorney representing both officers, told the Post that he expects other officers who sustained injuries to file their own litigation. “Everyone proceeds at their own pace and because of the terrible and unique nature of their injuries, it will take some time for them to become comfortable with talking about what happened in a court of law,” Malone said.
Finally, there’s the defamation suit against Trump by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, which New York’s highest court on Tuesday said can move forward after Trump’s lawyers tried to get it dismissed because he was the president. That argument is obviously no longer working out for them!
Per The Wall Street Journal:
Zerovs…claimed in the weeks before the 2016 election that Mr. Trump groped and kissed her without her consent in 2007. In 2017, she sued Mr. Trump for defamation after he denied her allegations and called her story a “hoax.”
Tuesday’s ruling means that Mr. Trump could be questioned under oath for the lawsuit. In 2018, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter had ruled that a deposition of Mr. Trump and other evidence gathering could move forward. The deposition hasn’t occurred because Mr. Trump appealed her ruling on presidential immunity to higher courts. Beth Wilkinson, a lawyer for Ms. Zervos, said in a statement, “Now a private citizen, the defendant has no further excuse to delay justice for Ms. Zervos, and we are eager to get back to the trial court and prove her claims.”
All in all, not a great week for a guy who can’t get any legitimate lawyers to return his calls!
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