Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Media Is Ignoring Trump Lawsuits and Destruction of Records and E-mails

While the American mainstream media continues to play into the hands of Donald Trump - and actually Vladimir Putin as well - by having near orgasms in its rush to sensationalize issues surrounding Hillary Clinton's e-mails, for the most part it is utterly ignoring the 75 lawsuits involving Donald Trump.  Even more hypocritically, it is ignoring Trump's history of destroying records and e-mails despite court orders.  A piece in Politicususa looks at the Trump's lawsuits while Newsweek looks at Trump's pattern of contempt of court actions and record destruction.  First these highlights from the Newsweek piece:
Over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders. These tactics—exposed by a Newsweek review of thousands of pages of court filings, judicial orders and affidavits from an array of court cases—have enraged judges, prosecutors, opposing lawyers and the many ordinary citizens entangled in litigation with Trump. In each instance, Trump and entities he controlled also erected numerous hurdles that made lawsuits drag on for years, forcing courtroom opponents to spend huge sums of money in legal fees as they struggled—sometimes in vain—to obtain records.
This behavior is of particular import given Trump’s frequent condemnations of Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, for having deleted more than 30,000 emails from a server she used during her time as secretary of state. While Clinton and her lawyers have said all of those emails were personal, Trump has suggested repeatedly on the campaign trail that they were government documents Clinton was trying to hide and that destroying them constituted a crime. The allegation—which the FBI concluded was not supported by any evidence—is a crowd-pleaser at Trump rallies, often greeted by supporters chanting, “Lock her up!”
TRUMP’S USE OF DECEPTION and untruthful affidavits, as well as the hiding or improper destruction of documents, dates back to at least 1973, when the Republican nominee, his father and their real estate company battled the federal government over civil charges that they refused to rent apartments to African-Americans. The Trump strategy was simple: deny, impede and delay, while destroying documents the court had ordered them to hand over.
For months, the Trumps ignored the government’s discovery demands, even though court procedure in a civil or criminal case requires each side to produce relevant documents in a timely manner. . . . .  When litigation is filed or even contemplated, scrupulous lawyers and corporations immediately impose document-retention programs or require that any shredding or disposing of records be halted. Courts have handed down severe sanctions or even criminal charges of obstruction of justice against executives and companies that destroyed records because they knew they were going to be sued.
Yet when the government filed its standard discovery requests, the Trumps reacted as though seeking that information was outrageous. They argued in court that prosecutors had no case and wanted to riffle through corporate files on a fishing expedition. Once again, this led to more delays, more replies, more hearings...and another specious argument thrown out of court.
Finally, under subpoena, Trump appeared for a short deposition. When asked about the missing documents, he made a shocking admission: The Trumps had been destroying their corporate records for the previous six months and had no document-retention program. They had conducted no inspections to determine which files might have been sought in the discovery requests or might otherwise be related to the case. Instead, in order to “save space,” Trump testified, officials with his company had been tossing documents into the shredder and garbage.
In 2009, a group of plaintiffs claimed Trump duped them into buying apartments in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, development by portraying it as one of his projects. The fine print of the dense and legalistic purchase contracts, however, revealed that Trump had agreed only to license his name to the developers, and when the project hit financial snags, he walked away from it.
In their initial disclosures in 2011, Trump and his company said they had no insurance to cover any of their liability in this case. . . . . Two years after denying that Trump had insurance that could have been used to settle the Fort Lauderdale litigation, one of his lawyers made a startling admission: Trump and his company had been insured all along for up to $5 million. But no more—the policy had recently “dried up,” the lawyer said.
PERHAPS THE WORST LEGAL CASE involving Trump and his companies hiding and destroying emails and other records involved real estate developer Cordish Cos., which, through an affiliate called Power Plant Entertainment LLC, built two American Indian casinos in Florida. 
Trump offered no evidence in support of his contention except his word, so the opposing lawyers filed extensive discovery demands, seeking emails, computer files, calendars and other records that might prove he knew about the casino deal before 2000.
A full year into the case, Trump and his company, Trump Hotels, had produced only a single box of documents, many of which were not relevant—and no emails, digital files, phone records, calendars or even documents Trump lawyers had promised to turn over. Interrogatories were still unanswered. Lawyers for Power Plant obtained a court order compelling Trump and his company to comply with the discovery demands and hand over the relevant information and documents.
In a March 2006 response, Trump’s lawyers argued that the emails and other electronic documents had not been produced because the company didn’t have them. They claimed it had no servers until 2001—the year Trump claimed he had learned of the Power Plant project. They also claimed Trump Hotels had no policy regarding retaining documents until 2003. In other words, they hadn’t turned over any emails because no emails had been saved on a Trump server.
Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld reacted with near disbelief. “I don't have the patience for this,” he said. “This has been going on too long to have to listen—and I don't mean to be disrespectful—to this double-talk. There has to be an attitude adjustment from the plaintiff.”
[B]y deposing numerous IT specialists with two Trump companies—the Trump Organization and Trump Hotels—lawyers for Power Plant gradually chipped away at it. Finally, during a deposition nine months after he had signed the deceptive affidavit, the same Trump executive admitted his assertions in it were untrue. In fact, an IBM Domino server for emails and other files had been installed in 1999, . . . These startling revelations changed nothing, however, because there was no trove of documents. The Trump records had been destroyed.
There is much more, but you get the drift: Trump and his companies are pathological lies and have nothing but contempt for the legal system and view others as suckers and targets for abuse.   The Politicususa piece follows this theme of just how crooked and unscrupulous Trump is in fact.  Here are highlights:
[H]ow many people realize that Donald Trump, at this moment, has 75 – SEVENTY-FIVE – legal issues hanging over his head.
He’s lying 20 to 35 times a day and has his followers – and with much less excuse, the mainstream media – thoroughly distracted by the Clinton email non-story so he can divert their attention away from his own legally questionable activities.
USA TODAY reported at the end of October that “Just two weeks before Election Day, at least 75 of the 4,000-plus lawsuits involving Trump and his businesses remain open, according to an ongoing, nationwide analysis of state and federal court records by USA TODAY.”
If one thing has become clear throughout this election it is that Trump does not pay his bills. Earlier, we had covered an incident where he had declined to finish paying a Florida contractor for work it did on one of his resorts, having decided that the contractor had been “paid enough,” even though it wasn’t the agreed-upon amount. Trump got nailed by the court for $300K in attorney’s fees in that case.
Just a few examples from USA TODAY’s investigation:
Trump faces significant open litigation tied to his businesses: angry members at his Jupiter, Fla. golf course say they were cheated out of refunds on their dues and a former employee at the same club claims she was fired after reporting sexual harassment. There’s a fraud case brought by Trump University students who say the mogul’s company ripped them off for tens of thousands in tuition for a sham real estate course.

Trump is also defending lawsuits tied to his campaign. A disgruntled GOP political consultant sued for $4 million saying Trump defamed her. Another suit, a class action, says the campaign violated consumer protection laws by sending unsolicited text messages.
 As pointed out by USA TODAY’s Nick Penzenstadler and John Kelly, these lawsuits will dog Trump into the White House, should he win. He will have no immunity because he is president. And America – and the world – will be treated to the spectacle of the President of the United States having to make trip after trip to the court to settle his highly questionable personal and business affairs.
There are harassment cases, sex discrimination lawsuits, fraud, unpaid bills, racist comments, defamation, cases involving Trump University. As USA TODAY notes, “as recently as last spring…New York had to take legal action to collect $8,578 in unpaid taxes on the Trump-owned company that owns the trademark Boeing 757 that jetted the mogul to campaign rallies across the country.”
And those 75 cases will likely grow. . . . All the facts – including the new disclosures about Trump’s ties to a Russian server and his potentially illegal ploy to avoid paying taxes – make it clear that if Trump the deadbeat liar drains the swamp, he will be the first one down the drain.
Many in the German media in the 1930's by laziness and default aided and abetted Hitler.  The parallels with the American media today are very disturbing.   Trump is a cheat and a perpetual liar, plain and simple.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. This should have been frontpage news and carried on cable networks. Your comparison to the rise of fascism is disturbingly apt. Mr. Trump's positionso n issues fit the dictionary definition of fascism. I am hoping Mrs. Clinton can open a program of job training in renewable energy (construction of offshore wind turbines is one with great job potential) with first applications to those who lost jobs in manufacturing. Franklin Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps when violence threatened on the left from unemployment; we can do the same again.