Donald Trump’s latest legal woes could be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s revenge. The congresswoman grilled Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen in February 2019 shortly after coming into Congress.
Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee that the then-president had routinely manipulated accounting data to provide insurance companies with inflated values for his properties. He further claimed that former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Wesselberg, Executive Vice President Ron Lieberman, and Chief Operating Officer Matthew Calamari knew about these activities.
Ocasio-Cortez asked Cohen where the relevant financial information could be found.
“You would find it at the Trump Org.,” Cohen said.
Justice Arthur Engoron recently ruled that Trump and his enterprises were civilly liable for fraudulent reporting of properties including Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s apartment in Trump Tower, several golf courses, and apartment buildings in Manhattan.
The current trial phase aims to set what the damages will be.
AOC Opens Door for Anti-Trump Lawsuit
Ocasio-Cortez’s line of questioning opened the door for fellow Democrat and fellow former member of the socialist Working Families Party Attorney General Letitia James to open her investigation into Trump’s finances. James ran for office in 2018 with the intent of getting Trump, who she branded as a “con-man.”
James wants Engoron to impose a $5 million fine and end the Trump Organization’s operations in New York.
James has striven to prove what Salon staff writer Amanda Marcotte argues shows that “Trump’s wealth is built on a sandcastle of lies. He doubles, triples, or quadruples the valuations of his assets in order to get loans from creditors, and drastically undervalues them to evade taxes. With this shell game, the four-time indicted ex-president lives like a rich man despite his proven inability to make much money from his business ventures. Everything Cohen said before that committee has pretty much proven true, and only AOC even thought to ask him about it.”
She noted that Trump’s tax returns show he is heavily indebted — to the tune of at least $1 billion. Trump inherited almost half a billion dollars from his father real estate developer Fred Trump and made $427 million from his hit show “The Apprentice.”
“All available evidence suggests Trump blew through that money and kept digging, creating a money pit so enormous that banks likely had given up hope of seeing any of it repaid. Yet Trump has kept up the illusion of immense wealth with his private jets and entourages, all paid for through dozens of opaque shell companies — and, as James’ evidence suggests, through massive fraud,” Marcotte wrote. “It makes sense that AOC opened the door for the massive lawsuit that may bring Donald Trump’s business empire crashing down.”
Trump Base Sticks Behind Its Guy
Trump’s financial shenanigans have thus far not impacted him with his base, which views the trial as a part of a political “witch hunt” against the former president. A commanding 57.9% of Republicans want Trump as their nominee.
Past comments by James calling Trump “an illegitimate president” and by Engoron calling Trump “just a bad guy” suggest a prosecutor and a judge who are not unbiased. They also raise questions as to why Trump, who operated in New York for at least 40 years, was not prosecuted before he got into politics.
Trump’s son and fellow defendant rallied supporters on X, saying with regard to James’ prejudice against his father, “This is the corruption my father and our family is fighting in New York! The system is weaponized, broken and disgusting.”
Such statements likely will be used on appeal to question whether Trump and his family were fairly litigated against.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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