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Judge Engoron provokes contempt of his court

N.Y. State Judge Engoron has brought contempt of his court upon himself with a ruling that could now provoke a major truckers’ strike.

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On Friday (February 16), New York State Supreme (that is, Superior) Court Judge Arthur Engoron handed down his decision – in a bench trial – in the civil case of People v. Trump, which alleged multiple counts of real-estate fraud. Judge Engoron handed down a verdict that has many real-estate developers shaking their heads in wonderment – and fear. Trump and his two sons must pay more than $350 million in fines, in a fraud case with no victims. In response, several business journalists and anchor persons are already pouring contempt on the judge and his court. More than that, the judge might have provoked a truckers’ strike against New York City, the like of which it has not seen perhaps since the administration of Mayor John V. Lindsay.

Judge Engoron put in the fix

New York Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James brought the case two years ago. Christina Laila of The Gateway Pundit gives the details. Ms. James initially sought $250 million in “damages,” later raising that to $370 million. She also sought to ban him from the real-estate industry in New York for the rest of his life.

On February 17, 2022, Judge Engoron ruled that Trump would have to give a deposition in the case. New York law forbids a prosecutor to compel testimony without granting immunity. Trump’s legal team argued that James was seeking to work around that law. Judge Engoron insisted that he testify. Trump appealed, and a four-judge appellate panel ruled against him.

In the summer of 2022, Judge Engoron actually held Trump in contempt of court for failing to furnish tax and other documents. Trump paid a fine of $110,000, and the judge then formally vacated the contempt order.

In November 2022, the judge appointed an “independent watchdog” to oversee the Trump Organization. In that same ruling, Judge Engoron said Ms. James’ claims were likely to succeed.


The trial lasted for eleven weeks – and the judge tried the case himself, without benefit of a jury. On September 26, 2023, the court granted partial summary judgment to the State and ordered the dissolution of Trump’s businesses. The Appellate Division stayed that order.

Details of the verdict

Yesterday the judge handed down his final verdict, in a 92-page filing.

In his Findings of Fact, he accused Trump, his sons, and the organizations he controls of inflating the value of several assets. Other commentators have shown that Judge Engoron applied standards which no bank would demand. For instance, he valued Trump’s Mar-A-Lago property as a private residence, not the social club it is. Thus a $100 million property received a valuation in Engoron’s court of – $18 million.

In each case of alleged fraud, no individual or entity actually lost anything of value. Banks, for example, would grant loans after negotiation, and conducting their own investigations. Banks never take a borrower’s word on asset valuation, as many real-estate developers and other experts will attest.

Nevertheless, Judge Engoron assessed fines totaling more than $355 million. Furthermore, he barred Trump


from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years.

He imposed those fines under the heading of disgorgement of ill-gotten gains. Restitution is not in order – because no one is claiming or even could claim it. The ruling alleges wrongdoing “just because,” and explicitly seeks to claw back the profits Trump has made. That no other individual or entity needs any payment to make them whole, is of no moment.


In a statement to NBC News, lead counsel Alina Habba vowed to appeal. Trump made even stronger statements on his Truth Social platform:

Later that day he offered further details:

On Friday night he had a stronger reaction in a speech to supporters.

We have a corrupt judge. He’s not a respected man, and again, I’ve said before, he’s been overturned on this case by the Appellate Division four times already. It’s a record. Nobody’s ever been overturned on one case four times. And I think, very importantly, and I think, ultimately, the most important, we’ve employed tens of thousands of people in New York, and we’ve paid taxes like few other people have ever paid in New York.

They don’t care about that. It’s a state that’s going bust. It’s a state that’s going bust because everybody’s leaving.

And it’s all headed up by Biden, who’s destroying our country. So, this is Russia, this is China, this is what you’ve been reading about all your lives, and it’s happening right here in our country.

Thank you very much. We will stop it. We will make America great again. You have my word.

Reaction: Judge Engoron provokes others to encourage Trump to appeal

Jim Hoft, at 9:00 p.m., quoted Kevin O’Leary’s interview with the New York Post, calling the ruling into further question.


I don’t understand where someone got hurt … What developer doesn’t ask for the highest price valued for any building they built?

If this judgment sticks, every developer must be jailed. They must be found guilty. They must be put out of business. You can’t do this to one another. It’s not about Trump.

At 9:45 a.m. Saturday morning, Hoft quoted Fox Business hostess Dagen McDowell making an even stronger statement:

If you run a business, big or small in New York State, you have to know or assume somebody with a political axe to grind will come after you, too. You better get the hell out of here.

Then at 11:00 a.m., Hoft quoted Steve Bannon as saying Judge Engoron is one of many Marxist activists who have now shown themselves for what they really are.

But at 5:20 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Patty McMurray dropped the thunderclap. Several long-haul truck drivers have signaled that they will refuse loads to New York City, presumably until some court vacates that verdict. The first such threat came Friday night from a trucker calling himself “Chicago Ray”:

Patty McMurray provided a transcript:

I’ve been on the radio talking to drivers for the last hour and fifteen minutes, and I’ve talked to at least ten drivers going the other way. I’m heading down from South Wisconsin. And they’re [other truckers] gonna start refusing loads to New York City, starting on Monday for NYC. I talked to about three guys that I work with who texted the boss and told him they’re not going to New York City.

I don’t know how far across the country this is or how many truckers are gonna start denying loads to go to New York City, but I’ll tell you what—you f**k around and find out!”

Okay? We’re tired of you motherf**kin’ leftists f**king around with Donald Trump.

You know, motherf**kers are starting to get tired of this shit—and our bosses don’t care if we’re denying the loads into New York; we’ll go somewhere else.”

I don’t wish nothin’ on nobody, but what I’m hearing—this is real!

Ya, know—we’ll see. Leave Trump the f**k alone with the bullshit! Alright? You know you ain’t got shit on Trump, so cut the bullshit! He’s gonna win this motherf**ker on appeal, but it’s still—you know how bullshit! It’s election interference.

I hate to say it, but Truckers are for Trump. We’re like 95% – 96% out here—-all Trump. Ain’t no motherf**kers for Biden!

Other posts followed yesterday:


That last post highlights a lesson the American left would like to ignore. Modern political maps commonly show islands of blue in a sea of red. These represent leftist urban strongholds and rightist rural expanses. But only truckers like Jack Lombard seem to understand what this means. No city is self-sufficient; all rely on deliveries from the countryside. Tellingly, Jack Lombard compared himself and his fellow truckers to European farmers already protesting plans to abandon farming and animal husbandry. And that was in his text! In his nine-minute-forty-six-second video he said much more.

This morning, at 11:15 a.m. EST, Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge filed this update on a trucker’s strike, or trucker boycott.

A last analysis

Judge Engoron has brought this contempt and disrepute upon himself and his own court. Several times, cameras caught him affecting a silly grin from the bench. When he did that, he showed total lack of respect for himself, his court, the parties, and everyone else.

In crafting his absurd Finding of Fact, the judge seems to have given little thought beyond a desire for ideological revenge against a defendant who was more than a real-estate mogul. Donald Trump represents an ideology Judge Engoron obviously hates. Trump might represent several such ideologies, depending on whether the judge, besides being an inveterate leftist, is an Alphabet Souper.

But the judge absolutely cannot have imagined that long-haul truckers, who keep New York City supplied, would cite him as their reason for calling what amounts to a strike! A strike that might not limit itself to New York City, either. If it succeeds, it could show every city dweller how vulnerable cities are to supply interruption. Leftists have scoffed at earlier suggestions that the right would win any civil war because they control the countryside. They might soon be laughing out of the other side of their faces.


Or not. The solution to this problem is absurdly simple. Judge Engoron’s verdict cannot possibly stand, for reasons other real-estate developers already know and have made plain. Donald Trump won’t even feel the expense – for the appeals will engender sympathy as no comparably expensive conventional campaign could ever have done.

Stay tuned…

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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