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Expert warns Letitia James heading for constitutional brick wall in Trump case

New York Attorney General Letitia James (video screenshot)

New York Attorney General Letitia James (video screenshot)

By Katelynn Richardson
Daily Caller News Foundation

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley suggested Friday that New York Attorney General Letitia James' push for $250 million in sanctions and the dissolution of former President Donald Trump's companies could render her civil fraud case against him “unconstitutional.”

James' case that former president committed fraud by inflating his net worth and overstating assets met challenges during this week's trial, a Deutsche Bank employee testified that the adjustments made to Trump's net worth were not out of the ordinary, and documents revealed the bank was eager to get Trump as a client. If Judge Arthur Engoron sides with James' effort to impose “dissolution and crippling damages,” it could “trigger a high court review” Turley he wrote for the messenger

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“It is relatively rare for civil damages to trigger constitutional review, and it is far from clear that this case will rise to that level,” Turley wrote.

“New York law is unique in allowing massive penalties without a bank losing a single dollar,” he continued. “However, James wants dissolution and crippling damages, and that could trigger a high court review.”

The year 1996 box BMW of North America v. Gore, the Supreme Court found that $2 million in punitive fines imposed on a company that repainted cars damaged in transit without informing customers violated the Due Process Clause because it was “grossly excessive,” Turley said.

Is Letitia James Heading For A Constitutional Brick Wall?

“One distinction between this case and the Trump proceeding is that the Supreme Court found no intentionally false statements by BMW, but the effective dissolution of Trump's business and a quarter of a billion dollars in damages may raise similar concerns about excessive penalties “, he wrote.

“In Trump's case, the banks made money.” Turley continued. “It would be similar to the value of the car owner increasing with the paint, but still hitting BMW with punitive damages.”

In a November 2011 email, then-Deutsche Bank managing director Rosemary Vrablic told colleagues after meeting with Donald Trump Jr. that they were “whaling”, a reference to a very wealthy client, seconds in The Associated Press.

“[G]Despite the circles this family travels in, we hope to be introduced to the wealthiest people on the planet,” Vrablic also said in a 2011 email, according to the AP.

This story was originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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