Former President Donald Trump appeared in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday for the start of the trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million civil lawsuit that alleges fraudulent business practices by Trump and the Trump Organization.
This is no ordinary trial, however, as Fox News contributor Byron York pointed out that the judge in the case has essentially already rendered his verdict and declared Trump guilty and liable before the trial even began, according to the Washington Examiner.
Indeed, the only apparent purpose of the proceedings now is for the judge to determine just how extensive the punishment should be that he will ultimately impose upon the former president and his family business.
New York AG James, who ran for office on the explicit promise of using the state's legal authority to target then-President Trump, accused Trump of grossly overinflating his net worth and property values in order to fraudulently obtain bank loans.
She is seeking upwards of $250 million in damages as well as the revocation of any and all business certificates and licenses to operate in New York state held by Trump, his family, and his associates -- a potentially crippling financial blow to the former president's New York-based real estate empire.
Incredibly, the judge presiding over the case, Justice Arthur Engoron, already issued a summary judgment ruling last week ahead of the trial that, for all intents and purposes, declared Trump and his organization to be guilty and liable for the alleged fraud.
The Examiner reported that its own Byron York, who is also a Fox News contributor, appeared on the network Monday as the trial got underway and pointed out this particularly odd circumstance in that the outcome of the proceedings had essentially already been decided by the judge.
"So I want to read you something from the New York Times this morning that people should understand," York said. "In light of those defenses Justice Engoron noted in his ruling last week that a powerful state law allows Ms. James, that's the New York attorney general, to pursue persistent fraud without having to show that the defendant actually intended to defraud anyone or that their actions resulted in financial loss."
"A lower bar than most fraud cases. It also affords drastic remedies empowering Ms. James to seek steep financial punishments and the cancellation of Mr. Trump’s certificates to operate a business in New York," he continued. "So this is an unusual sort of case, I think, for most viewers, but most of it has already been decided."
York went on to suggest that since the verdict had already been decided, observers should "look for precedents" in the past to try and figure out what sort of punishment Justice Engoron would hand down, though he also acknowledged that this case was itself rather unprecedented in many ways with very few other cases with similar enough circumstances upon which to base any predictions.
The eventual punishment handed down by the judge could be merely a steep fine, but it could also potentially include revocation of necessary certificates to conduct business in the state as well as even the seizure and liquidation of Trump's assets in the state, including his iconic Trump Tower, among other properties.
Prior to his appearance on Fox News, York shared the New York Times article he would later reference and took note of the backward "Alice in Wonderland" Queen of Hearts-esque proclamation of "Verdict, then trial," in a post to social media.
Verdict, then trial. Trump goes to court today in already-decided NY State lawsuit seeking to put him out of business. Trump defenses already rejected. From NYTimes: https://t.co/a6VUge0uF1 pic.twitter.com/gQfaKGdnF6
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 2, 2023
This is nothing short of outrageous, as it flips the nation's historical traditions concerning how trials are conducted on its head and makes a mockery of the judicial system, and must be overturned as illegitimate by an appeals court and flatly rejected by all American people as beyond unacceptable.