You have the right to remain silent.
Any incriminating thing that you haven’t already tweeted will be held against you in a court of law.
You have the right to a lawyer. If you exhaust the Greater New York Yellow Pages looking in vain, we’ll provide one.
Indictment – one likely to be just the first — is a sour-sweet moment for Donald Trump, identified as “Individual 1” in a 2019 criminal trial that sent his former “fixer,” Michael Cohen, up the river for crimes done at Trump’s behest.
Sweet and sour? No one wants a criminal rap. But imagine the funds he’d raise, even if purchasing power goes only so far at a jail commissary.
Understand, Trump has always looked at the legal system as a fiscal proposition, speculation of the highest order.
Unlike the rest of us, he sees courts in the most romantic and entrepreneurial sense. Observe the passion with which he engages them.
We aren’t just talking about the bogus lawsuits – some 63 of them rejected by the courts – that his proxies filed seeking to overturn a fair and decisive presidential election. (A Washington Post tally finds they cost American taxpayers more than $400 million.)
Before those lawsuits, however, so many more of so many kinds were filed by or against the man.
How many? Hold onto your hat, because you are about to be stunned.
In the early months of his 2016 run for president, USA Today tallied them up: 4,095 lawsuits over three decades. That’s right.
Branding cases. Casino cases. Contract disputes. Employment disputes. Golf course cases. Tax disputes. Media defamation cases. Personal injury cases. Real estate cases. And more.
In some he sued. In others he was being sued.
Of the big-ticket matters, personal injury claims lapped the field, with 696 suits filed against his business.
In the interest of income, however, few matched the 1,679 cases in which Trump sued gamblers for money owed.
Whether as plaintiff or defendant, the courts have always been Trump’s happy place.
Not a hobby. Not a dalliance. Not a passing fling. It’s a love affair.
Now we are about to observe this relationship in a new way.
The crimes alleged in today’s headlines should have been adjudicated long ago.
When Michael Cohen testified to investigators and then to Congress about Trump’s activities, not only should criminal proceedings have begun immediately but also an impeachment trial.
It wasn’t just the matter of the $130,000 check signed by Trump to keep a porn star quiet.
It was what Cohen said about bank fraud based on inflated property values, about tax fraud by deflating the value of some of the same property.
Throw in insurance fraud allegations based on overstated losses.
Congress and federal investigators (under the direction of Trump’s attorney general at the time), let this slide, but New York Attorney General Letitia James did not. She successfully sued the Trump Organization for fraud, the court slapping it with a $1.6 million judgment, the maximum allowed. The AG requested that Trump’s business be blocked from doing business in the state of New York.
It’s quite possible that most of the people who voted for Trump don’t know any of this. Such is the comfort afforded by Fox News’ hive of lies.
Likewise, those so willfully deceived know nothing of a $1.6 billion defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems now advancing against Fox News for knowingly abetting the lie factory that is Team Trump.
We’ll see how many of these people will be peeled off the MAGA bandwagon by the criminal charges pending in Manhattan. A good wager: Almost none.
It will be hard for even Fox News to shield eyes from what else appears to be coming down the pike for the most corrupt public figure in U.S. history, such as the criminal case in Georgia over bullying election officials and coordinating a plot to present Congress with fake electors.
Even more eye-opening will be the federal criminal case being amassed over Trump’s role in urging on the mob that savaged the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and otherwise seeking to gum up democracy with the Big Lie.
Throw in the criminal probe into his absconding with a trove of classified documents, and stonewalling the FBI when it sought to recover them.
What has gotten very little attention amid all of this is a massive lawsuit filed by members of Congress and Capitol officers against Trump and the groups behind the deaths, destruction and psychological trauma Jan. 6 at the hands of MAGA terrorists.
One man’s name is on Exhibits A through Z in all of these. Court will be in session.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: [email protected].