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US: Ginsburg Opinion Could Aid Trump in N.Y. Fraud Case

By Charlie McCarthy From Newsmax

screenshot – Newsmax TV

Former President Donald Trump’s appeal of the $454 million civil fraud judgment against him in New York could be helped by an opinion written by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ginsburg in February 2019 wrote the majority opinion in Timbs v. Indiana, in which the high court voted 9-0 to find that the Eighth Amendment is applicable to the states.

The justices ruled against Indiana, which was seeking to confiscate defendant Tyson Timbs’ $42,000 Land Rover, for assessing a fine that was “grossly disproportionate” to the gravity of the offense.

The Land Rover’s value was more than four times the maximum $10,000 fine that Timbs was liable for in a criminal case that involved controlled substances and conspiracy to commit theft, Independent Journal Review reported.

“The Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause is an incorporated protection applicable to the States under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause,” the justices found.

“The prohibition embodied in the Excessive Fines Clause carries forward protections found in sources from Magna Carta to the English Bill of Rights to state constitutions from the colonial era to the present day,” Ginsburg argued in the case. “Protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history for good reason: Such fines undermine other liberties.”

Ginsburg added that such fines “can be used, e.g., to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies.”

Trump has appealed the New York civil fraud judgment, challenging Judge Arthur Engoron’s finding that the former president lied about his wealth as he grew the real estate empire that launched him to stardom and the presidency.

Trump’s lawyers filed a notice of appeal Monday asking the state’s mid-level appeals court to overturn Engoron’s Feb. 16 verdict in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit.

The attorneys wrote that they’re asking the appeals court to decide if Engoron “committed errors of law and/or fact” and whether he abused his discretion and/or his jurisdiction.

Trump, who has denied all wrongdoing, owes $355 million in fines and about $100 million in accrued interest that continues to grow.

Ginsburg told the The New York Times in July 2016: “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president.”

“For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Charlie McCarthy 

Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.

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