Trump Highlights His Legal Woes in Memorial Day Message

Trump Highlights His Legal Woes in Memorial Day Message
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a break in a pretrial hearing at a criminal court in New York on March 25, 2024. (Brendan McDermid-Pool/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump on Monday highlighted the legal troubles he faces that threaten to derail his presidential comeback bid, with the former president alleging in a sharply-worded message that the judges overseeing several of his cases are biased and motivated by political factors.

After President Trump posted a solemn message on Truth Social remembering fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, he issued a separate critical message to those “working so hard to destroy our Once Great Country.”

President Trump then directed his criticism at Judge Lewis Kaplan, who oversaw a pair of defamation cases brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, with the former president calling him a “Radical Left, Trump Hating Federal Judge.” The former president lost those cases and was ordered to pay $83 million in damages. His attorneys recently filed an appeal in one of those cases, seeking to overturn the verdict.

In this case, Ms. Carroll sued President Trump for defamation over statements he made denying allegations of sexual assault. President Trump has called the verdict politically motivated and “absolutely ridiculous,” reiterating this view in his Memorial Day message on Monday, claiming he had never met Ms. Carroll before except for a quick handshake at an event 25 years ago.

The former president also criticized Judge Arthur Engoron, who presided over a civil business fraud trial that was brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who fixated on President Trump as she campaigned for New York attorney general in September 2023, calling him a “con man” and vowing to shine a “bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings.”

In that case, Judge Engoron ordered the former president to pay over $450 million in fines, with President Trump calling the judge a “wacko” in his Memorial Day message and insisting he had done “nothing wrong.”

Ms. James eventually won the case on Feb. 16, with Judge Engoron ordering President Trump and Trump Organization executives to pay around $350 million in damages (plus another $100 million or so in interest), while also barring the former president from doing business in the state for three years. President Trump has also appealed this verdict.

More Criticism

Further, President Trump hinted in his Memorial Day post that he would focus future criticism on Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the former president’s business records falsification trail in Manhattan, which focuses on allegations of misclassifying records to conceal non-disclosure payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

In the case, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records, alleging a scheme to influence the 2016 election with payments meant to bury unfavorable news coverage of the alleged affair with the adult performer, which the former president has denied.

There have been evidentiary concerns in this case, as well as questions about the conduct of Judge Merchan, whom President Trump earlier accused of bias and corruption, and called for his recusal.

Marc Clauson, a professor of law and constitutional theory at Cedarville University in Ohio who has studied the proceedings of the trial closely from their beginning, told The Epoch Times that it appears there have been numerous objectionable actions by Judge Merchan that could be raised on appeal.

“I’ve been following all the ins and outs and nuances of the trial,” Mr. Clauson told The Epoch Times. “District Attorney Alvin Bragg made very public statements about his desire to ‘get’ Trump, so it certainly looks political. Furthermore, there are a lot of things that the judge has done wrong and that can be raised on appeal.”

In another controversial move, Judge Merchan imposed a gag order on President Trump on March 26, then expanded it on April 1 to prohibit the former president from making comments about the judge’s and the district attorney’s family members.

The gag order came after President Trump accused Judge Merchan of corruption and alleged that his daughter, Loren Merchan, had a partisan interest in the case because she leads a political marketing firm that has represented President Trump’s political opponents, receiving millions from them.

President Trump has said in the past that it would be a “great honor” to be jailed for violating the gag order.

“If this Partisan Hack wants to put me in the ‘clink’ for speaking the open and obvious TRUTH, I will gladly become a Modern Day Nelson Mandela – It will be my GREAT HONOR,” President Trump said in a post on social media.

Lawyers in the trial are set to deliver final remarks on May 28, with the jury expected to begin deliberating as soon as the middle of the week.
The three judges singled out in President Trump’s Memorial Day message were not immediately available for comment.

Judge Engoron has in the past pushed back on claims challenging his impartiality.

Michael Washburn contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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