Trump Lawsuit Likely to Follow Familiar Pattern

New York AG is 'targeting Trump’s old occupation, not his new one'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2022 7:15 PM CDT
Voters, Not Lawsuits, Will Determine Trump's Future
New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in New York.   (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

New York's attorney general is suing Donald Trump, along with three of his children and the Trump Organization—but the former president's future is likely to be determined by voters, not lawsuits, Philip Bump writes at the Washington Post. He notes that the Letitia James suit, which alleges that the value of assets was massively inflated, could easily drag on into a possible second Trump term and predicts that the case will follow a pattern that has become very familiar over the last seven years: "Some new investigation or question emerges about Trump’s behavior that, for any other person, would present a huge legal, political, or ethical dilemma. His critics get enthusiastic and start poring over the details. Then, slowly, the situation resolves in a way that leaves Trump, his business and his political position mostly undamaged."

It's also worth noting that James is "targeting Trump’s old occupation, not his new one," Bump writes. "He used to be a real estate salesman. Now he’s a right-wing rhetoric salesman, and lawsuits like James's are good for business." Bump says that by the time the lawsuit is resolved, Republican voters will have already decided what the next chapter of Trump's life will involve. Other reactions:

  • Trump lashes out. Trump recycled some familiar lines in posts on Truth Social Wednesday, calling James, who is Black, a racist and denouncing her investigation as a "Witch Hunt." James "is spending all of her time fighting for very powerful and well represented banks and insurance companies, who were fully paid, made a lot of money, and never had a complaint about me, instead of fighting murder and violent crime, which is killing New York State," he wrote. Trump lawyer Alina Habba said the suit "is solely focused on advancing the attorney general's political agenda."
  • Stefanik says it will hurt Democrats. US Rep. Elise Stefanik, who represents a district in upstate New York, called the investigation part of an "illegitimate witch hunt" and said it would hurt Democrats in November, the Hill reports. "Republicans are going to surge to victory across New York because hardworking New Yorkers are tired of corrupt Albany Democrats putting their own deranged anti-Trump obsession ahead of supporting law and order,” she said.

  • "Existential legal consequences." "Trump has long inflated his wealth, but this "the first time his carnivalesque business practices have exposed him to existential legal consequences" that could lead to the dismantling of the Trump Organization, writes Timothy O'Brien at Bloomberg. He notes that the civil case won't land Trump in jail, but James says she has referred federal crimes uncovered by the investigation to the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan and the Internal Revenue Service. "In the meantime, Trump may choose to simply settle James’s case, pay $250 million in allegedly ill-gotten gains she wants disgorged and give up the business ghost in New York rather than wage yet another legal battle," O'Brien writes.
  • One of numerous headaches. Politico notes that the lawsuit is the "latest in a mushrooming pileup of legal threats to Trump and may not even be the former president’s most acute legal headache as a series of other probes and trials close in on him and various figures in his orbit." According to the Washington Post, there could be a link to another Trump legal headache: The lawsuit suggests that the FBI's search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago may have uncovered tax and accounting information relevant to the case.
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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