The New York Times Almost every aspect of a man’s life and career Donald Trump have been scrutinized by the judiciary in recent years, which resulted in criminal charges in four jurisdictions and an allegation in a civil case regarding what a jury deemed to be sexual abuse he committed decades ago. But The decision, issued Tuesday by a New York state judge, finds that Trump committed fraud by inflating the value of his property It violates the identity that made him nationally known and launched his political career.
By effectively classifying Trump as a fraud, the decision in the civil case led by Judge Arthur Engoron undermined the narrative that the former president tirelessly promoted as a master of business, the figure he once enmeshed in the fabric of popular culture around the world . US and what ultimately gave him the stature and resources to reach the White House.
Judge Engoron’s decision was the latest landmark development to test the resilience of Trump’s appeal as the mogul seeks to run again in the presidential election, despite cases spanning his years as a New York real estate developer and his 2016 campaign extensive evidence against him, his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat, and his handling of national security secrets after he left the presidency.
Former President Donald Trump attends an event in Washington on September 15, 2023. Photo: Kenny Holston/The New York Times
The federal trial, in which he is accused of plotting to stay in power despite his election defeat three years ago, portrays him as a threat to democracyas well as A similar case occurred in the state of Georgia. The process about the secret documents portrays him as a man willing to obstruct justice to cover up an irresponsible disregard for the laws that govern the handling of information of this kind. An accusation in New York that starts Payments for silencing a porn star in the final stages of her 2016 campaign presents evidence of the kind of political chicanery he claims to be trying to stamp out in Washington.
So far, none of these cases have significantly affected Trump’s campaign for the Republican Party’s nomination for president, which, According to polls, he is ahead by a large margin. In fact, polls show that the charges have solidified his support among Republicans. The charges helped him raise funds.
It remains to be seen whether Judge Engoron’s decision will have other implications. But the decision endangers the public image of Trump and his business empire. The former president now faces not only having to pay $250 million in restitution, but also the loss of properties like Trump Tower that are inextricably linked to his brand.
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Trump’s lawyer in the case, Christopher Kise, said the decision was “outrageous” and said he would appeal, describing it as “totally disconnected from the facts and applicable law.”
“The decision seeks to nationalize one of the most successful corporate empires in the United States and take control of private property, while recognizing that there is no evidence of default, violations, late payments or claims for damages,” Kise said.
Trump said in a lengthy post on his social network that the decision classifying him as a fraud was “ridiculous and untrue” and described it as a political attack in the middle of his presidential campaign.
In all of Trump’s recent setbacks in court, his typical selfpreservation tactics have largely failed. When Trump is cornered, he traditionally resorts to boasting to avoid trouble and resorts to exaggerations or lies to escape.
These methods have served him well in business and politics, where the price of failing to tell the truth is often low and voters tend not to recognize degrees of wrongdoing. However, these methods have been far less effective in courts that operate under strict standards of truthfulness and strict, nononsense rules.
To put it bluntly, Judge Engoron has burst Trump’s bubble of protective fallacies about the way he conducts his business. “In the defendant’s words,” the judge wrote, “rentregulated housing is the same as unregulated housing; Properties with restricted use are worth the same as properties without restrictions; Restrictions could simply disappear.”
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“It is a fantasy world,” the judge continued, “not the real world.”
Trump’s second favorite weapon intimidation of his opponents hasn’t worked particularly well in court either. This month, federal prosecutors asked the judge presiding over the federal case accusing him of election meddling to impose a gag order against him, citing “almost daily” attacks on social media against people involved in the proceedings , and to threats caused by the statements.
Trump ignored a preliminary warning from the judge in the case, Tanya Chutkan, to be careful what he said about witnesses, prosecutors and potential jurors in the case. But if he thought he would simply use force to overcome the judge’s warnings, prosecutors called his bluff. Now Trump has set himself on a potential collision course with the judge that could result in his public statements being restricted in the midst of his presidential campaign.
Trump is subject to the same system he often uses to block opposition: the judiciary. Trump has filed a series of lawsuits over the past two years against media and press people, critical politicians and even the Pulitzer Prize Committee. Several of these cases were dismissed.
But Judge Engoron’s decision pointed to a character that has long shaped Trump’s personality and the way he does business. Trump has always tried to create his own reality and he has often succeeded to some extent.
A lawsuit filed by Trump in 2006 against journalist Timothy O’Brien, author of the book “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald,” which estimated the former president’s net worth at a maximum of $250 million, settled Trump gathered to testify and made a stunning statement about how he calculates the value of his assets.
“My fortunes fluctuate, rise and fall with markets, with attitudes and with feelings, even with my own feelings, but I’m trying,” Trump said. The court ultimately dismissed his case. / TRANSLATION BY GUILHERME RUSSO
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*Maggie Haberman is a senior political correspondent and author of “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” She was part of a team of journalists that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for their reporting on Trump advisers’ ties to Russia.
*Alan Feuer deals with extremism and political violence. He has worked for the Times since 1999.