Tuesday April 26, 2022

Former US president Trump faces legal trouble

Former US president Trump faces legal trouble

Donald Trump

A New York judge, Arthur F Ergoron has imposed a fine of $10,000 per day on former American President Donald Trump for failing to comply with a subpoena from the office of the Attorney General of New York, Letitia James. Trump was given time till March 3, and then it was extended to March 31. This failure to share documents as promised amounted to contempt of court.

Ergoron said, “Mr Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously.” Trump’s legal team disagreed with the order and it is likely to challenge the order in an appellate court. Trump lawyer Alina Habiba said, “We respectfully disagree with the court’s decision.” The American legal system is quite tortuous and sometimes much more exciting than all the court room television dramas shown on American channels. Hauling up a former president is possible in America. And it is even possible to haul up a president in office during impeachment.

Attorney General James has been pursuing the case against the Trump Trust for three years undervaluing their assets as a way of paying less tax. Trump lawyers of course deny the charge. They have shared the documents, but the office of the New York Attorney General is of the view that not all the evidence has been shared.

That is why Trump was subpoenaed over the issue. Trump’s lawyer told Judge Ergoron that Trump has shared all the documents he had with him and there was nothing new that he could disclose. The judge said that then Trump should file an affidavit saying so. The lawyer promised to file an affidavit.

Trump has been quite cavalier with his businesses and with his politics. Rules and norms did not seem to matter to him. He had faced bankruptcy many times during his business life but survived them all. His critics would argue that his reckless business tactics cost the lives of many workers who worked in his companies.

So, when he contested first the Republican presidential nomination, and then for the presidency, in 2016 he did it in his own unorthodox aggressive way. This was a disturbing phenomenon. And he carried the same attitude of nonchalance during his four years in the White House, which culminated in the January 6, 2021, problem. That alienated many of his fellow-Republicans, including his Vice President Mike Pence.

For Trump, the charge of contempt of court does not cause him any sleepless nights. He is confident that what he is doing and what he has done with the running of his businesses is right even as he believes that what he did as president was right, including the January 6 episode. That he does not play the game of either business or politics according to norms, and he seems to take pride in the fact that he does not play by the rulebook.

What is a matter of concern for political conservatives as well as liberals in America is that Trump retains a certain measure of popularity. In the presidential election he has lost and which he believes is stolen from him, he has polled 70 million votes compared to the 73 million that Joe Biden got. Trump remains a formidable political figure in the Republican party as well as in the political field at large.

That is why, he can turn the legal cases against his businesses in New York as the work of his political ‘enemies’! New York Attorney General Letitia James is a Democrat, and Trump has already labelled the investigations against him as ‘politically motivated’!

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