When Donald Trump was campaigning for president back in 2016, he defended his lifelong hometown with the kind of energy you’d expect from a smooth-talking New Yorker, telling then-rival Senator Ted Cruz: “When you want to beat New York, has to go through me.”
But lately, New York has fought back. Trump’s relationship with the Big Apple took a adversarial turn during his presidency, and recently a series of lawsuits have recalled him from his new home state of Florida.
The cases have dragged on for years, both civil and criminal, state and federal, and “it’s not a total coincidence that it’s all coming together at once,” according to former federal prosecutor E. Danya Perry.
“He very successfully and deftly managed to put so much of that on hold while he was president,” said Perry, a defense attorney who also previously served as New York State’s deputy attorney general.
E. Jean Carroll defamation case and upcoming sexual assault trial
In federal court on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan, a judge last week ordered Trump to sit Wednesday for his second high-stakes appearance.in three months. He will be questioned by a lawyer for author E. Jean Carroll, who sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after Trump accused Carroll of lying when she said he raped her in the mid-1990s.
Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote that Trump’s deposition could be used in another civil suit that Carroll has promised to file, a sexual assault claim against Trump.
Carroll will be able tonext month, when a new state law, the Adult Survivors Act, briefly removes the statute of limitations for such claims in New York.
Trump has repeatedly denied Carroll’s claims.
Civil fraud lawsuit against Trump and his company
A block east of the federal courthouse is the Center Street state civil court, where lawyers for Trump and his firm for years fought a losing battle to limit subpoenas in an extensive Attorney General of New York. Trump’s other recent recusal was ordered by Judge Arthur Engoron in this case.
more than 400 times during the August hearing. His deposition was among the last evidence gathered for the New York Attorney General filed on September 21 a that aims to kneecap Trump’s company. New York is demanding $250 million in damages and an end to Trump’s business in the state. In addition to the Trump Organization, the attorney general’s suit names Trump and three of his children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump — as defendants.
The company and the Trumps have denied all allegations in the case, saying through a lawyer in September that “absolutely no wrongdoing has occurred.” They have previously accused New York Attorney General Letitia James in public and in court of pursuing the investigation out of political ill will.
The complaint alleges that the Trumps and other executives at the company engaged in a years-long scheme to enrich themselves by inflating the values of properties across the country.
That investigation was prompted by congressional testimony given in 2019 by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who said at the time that “Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purpose … and depleted his assets to reduce his estate taxes .”
Cohen told CBS News that he believes Trump “broke the law,” but that the alleged fraud may never have been uncovered had Trump not run for office.
“He might never have been caught other than the high profile of the position and his continued refusal to conform to norms,” said Cohen, now a fierce critic of the former president.
The next court hearing in that case is scheduled for October 31.
Manhattan trial for criminal fraud and tax evasion
Before then, lawyers for the company will be busy a block north on Center Street, at a state criminal court, where the Trump Organization’s criminal fraud and tax evasion trial begins Monday.
Among the witnesses expected to be called in that case is the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, who in Augustin case. The judge in that case, Juan Merchan, also presides over the former Trump adviser .
At a Sept. 12 hearing, Merchan criticized Trump Organization lawyers for “eleventh-hour” changes to their defense team.
“One of the charges is that the defense is trying to stall. You know, it’s starting to feel a little bit like that,” Merchan said.
Merchan’s rebuke was echoed by Judge Kaplan in the E. Jean Carroll case, who wrote on Oct. 12 that Trump “should not be allowed to run out the clock on (Carroll’s) attempt to obtain a remedy for what was allegedly a serious mistake.”
Trump has long used delay as a court strategy, according to Barbara Res, who was Trump’s construction manager in the 1980s.
“His MO was to try to do it with contractors when he owed them money and, you know, offer them maybe 50 cents on the dollar. If they didn’t take it, he’d just drag it through court. So, you know, they’d go bankruptcy and wait for a long time,” Res said.
Asked by USA Today in 2016 about contractor complaints, Trump said he made companies pay if the Trump Organization was unhappy with their work.
“Let’s say they do a job that’s not good, or a job that they didn’t finish, or a job that was way too late. I’m pulling their contract, absolutely,” Trump said .
If that strategy worked in the past, it may no longer be effective, according to Perry, who said, “there is a general loss of patience by litigants, and more importantly the judiciary, with some of these delay tactics and gamesmanship.”
“There’s been more of a ‘rocket docket’ with some of these relationships than you might otherwise see,” Perry said.
Special master of the Mar-a-Lago document probe
Five blocks south of the state criminal courthouse is the Brooklyn Bridge, which on the outer borough runs past another federal courthouse. The building’s atrium is named after Raymond Dearie, the semi-retired judge who serves asin Trump’s lawsuit against the federal government.
The suit was filed in August after the Justice Department served a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and seized White House files, some of which were labeled “Top Secret.” Trump has insisted that the documents were in his possession legally.
Dearie is reviewing thousands of pages of documents seized by the FBI, mandated to identify which, if any, are subject to attorney-client or executive privilege.
The trial against Trump confidante Thomas Barrack
On the eighth floor of the Brooklyn courthouse, another federal judge is presiding over the ongoing criminal case against a billionaire businessmana longtime Trump friend and adviser who served as chairman of the 2016 inauguration committee.
Barrack is accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent in an attempt to influence US foreign policy in favor of the interests of the United Arab Emirates. He pleaded not guilty in the case.
During the trial so far, jurors have heard from the former Trump administration secretary of statewho was called as a witness and has been shown emails and text messages sent to and from Trump administration officials.