Expert warns leftists' 'political prosecutions' threaten to impose tyranny

 March 2, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

When a leftist judge in New York, Arthur Engoron, decided without help from a jury that President Donald Trump committed "fraud" in his real estate businesses, the state's governor was ecstatic.

Engoron decided, in a ruling now on appeal, that Trump and his companies are liable for hundreds of millions of dollars even though no one was defrauded of as much as a single penny. The banks involved all wanted to do more business with Trump, all loans were repaid on time, and more.


Engoron's decision pleased Gov. Kathy Hochul, but she realized the implications that any business operating in the state could now feel threatened by the whims of a single prosecutor and single judge and tried to offer reassurance.

She declared "Business people have nothing to worry about because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior."

Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley wrote, "That sounds a lot like 'you are fine so long as you are not Trump.' Yet, that is not reassuring to businesses who want a legal system that is based on something other than selective and arbitrary enforcement. Attorney General Letitia James campaigned on bagging Trump without even bothering to name the offense."

He continued "The line between doing business and a public execution appears to be the dubious discretion of Letitia James. That is not the type of assurance that most businesses would accept in risking billions in investment. Despite the high taxes and falling services in New York, the city remained a draw for business as a commercial and legal center. The experience and objectivity of courts in dealing with business disputes was a selling point for companies."

"Many businesses are likely wondering 'but for the grace of God go I,'" Turley wrote. "Undervaluing or overvaluing property is a common practice, particularly in real estate. That is why representations, like the one made by the Trump Corporation, come with a warning that estimates are their own and that the banks need to make their assessments."

Engoron ruled that Trump had overvalued his properties, and then wildly said, in a statement that dropped jaws in the real estate community, that Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida was worth less than $20 million. Real estate experts confirmed without hesitation it would be worth closer to $500 million, but Engoron stuck to his own assessment of Florida real estate.

Now, according to Robert Henneke, of the Texas Public Policy Foundation in a commentary at The Federalist, that threat goes beyond New York businesses and now looms over everyone.

He explained, "Hochul knows she has spooked her state’s business community. That’s why she went on a talk show last week to calm their very legitimate fears that they would be next. If former President Donald Trump can be prosecuted and fined hundreds of millions of dollars for a common business practice, who is safe?"

She claimed Trump "did not follow the rules."

"But the truth is Trump engaged in a common business practice for developers. As 'Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary noted in a Fox News interview, 'Forget about Trump, every single real estate developer everywhere on Earth does this. They always talk about their asset being worth a lot, and the bank says no. That’s just the way it is,'" he explained.

He said the message of "such politicized prosecutions is clear – Americans are increasingly convinced we live in a nation with a two-tiered justice system."

He cited a comment in the Washington Post, "The people charged with enforcing federal law seem to thrill at finding new ways to prosecute politically unsympathetic people who have behaved badly, even when their behavior wasn’t illegal."

He pointed out, too, "what Americans learned from the prosecution of Trump for the alleged mishandling of classified documents, while Biden (like Hillary Clinton before him) got a pass for the same thing. And the list goes on."

He noted the judge in Trump's case even admitted "there were no victims and that every party in the deal brought to trial by New York Attorney General Letitia James made a profit. He also noted that 'it is undisputed that defendants have made all required payments on time.'"

That left leftists who are trying to sideline President Trump "ripping up what philosopher John Locke described as the 'social contract.'" That's the understanding that the law needs to be observed even if there's no one enforcing it.

The U.S. Supreme Court has warned, "There can be no free society without law administered through an independent judiciary. If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny."

The Post warning continued, "Political prosecutions are a danger, but so is overcharging by ambitious, media-savvy prosecutors whose main interest is their advancement and notoriety. Americans might need to worry more about the propensity of prosecutors to deprive the public of honest services when they stretch the limits of the law."

Henneke explained, "Gov. Hochul tried to soothe her state’s business community with assurances that other real estate developers need not worry about receiving the Trump treatment. But it’s tyranny when our liberty relies on the whims of a government official."

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