Retweeting @realDonaldTrump isn’t my favorite thing to do, but sometimes duty calls. At 5:54 this morning, after Trump’s new lawyer, Rudy “It’s Guiliani Time” Guiliani went on Sean Hannity’s show “asserting that the president had reimbursed his personal lawyer for a $130,000 hush payment to a pornographic film actress — contradicting his client, the president,” Trump tweeted
Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are..... ...very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair...... (bold added.)
We’ll leave it to criminal prosecutors, history textbook writers and November voters to sort this out. What’s of interest to us is his glowing praise of “Arbitration” (capitalized for no apparent grammatical reason), which is not new. As we’ve noted before, Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, have long used forced arbitration clauses to silence their accusers, which keeps them from bringing legal cases in open court before unbiased judges and juries. As the Associated Press reported during election season, “In his businesses and presidential campaign, Trump requires nearly everyone” to sign clauses where any dispute is subject to arbitration at the “sole discretion of Trump and others protected by the agreement,” and which are “binding during employment and ‘at all times thereafter.’”
And since becoming President, his Administration has been forcing arbitration on victims any way they can. (See the Center for Justice & Democracy’s running scorecard.)
The hypocrisy of this guy is one for the record books. While Trump clearly doesn’t like being held legally accountable in open court, he and/or his businesses have filed more than 1,900 civil cases over the past three decades. For example, Trump sued “Palm Beach County, Fla., because of the ‘malicious’ jet noise above Mar-a-Lago”: Bill Maher “after the comedian challenged Trump to prove he was not the spawn of an orangutan”; the Chicago Tribune “for $500 million because its architecture critic said Trump’s idea for the world’s tallest tower was silly”; “neighbors of the Trump National Doral Miami for vandalizing palm trees”; and “two business executives for using the name ‘Trump,’ even though their surname was also Trump.”
In 2009, Trump filed a defamation lawsuit seeking $2.5 billion in compensation and $2.5 billion in punitive damages after an author claimed Trump was a millionaire not a billionaire. (The case was thrown out). Then there was the time when “Miss Universe LP, partly owned by Trump, sued to confirm a $5 million arbitration award against Sheena Monnin, a former Miss Pennsylvania USA and Miss USA Pageant who called the pageant “fixed and called the organization ‘fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent and in many ways trashy.’”
An April 2018 ProPublica investigation revealed, “Across the country, the Trump Organization is suing local governments, claiming it owes much less in property taxes than government assessors say because its properties are worth much less than they’ve been valued at. …At stake is millions of dollars that communities use to fund roads, schools and police departments.”
And then, there was this today:
Over the opposition of lawyers for a company owned by President Donald J. Trump, State Supreme Court Judge Eileen Bransten ruled Thursday that a condominium on the Upper West Side could remove the bronze letters spelling out his name from its 46-story building.
In the letter, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, said that if the condo made any effort to remove the Trump lettering, Mr. Trump would “commence appropriate legal proceedings to not only prevent such unauthorized action, but to also recover the significant amount of damages, costs and attorney’s fees.”
That was no small matter in the minds of many condo owners. Mr. Trump has a reputation as a vigorous if not always victorious plaintiff and defendant whose determination to drag out a court fight could cost a fortune.
Oh, there’s even more. In fact, this is just a taste of what’s to come in the Center for Justice & Democracy upcoming “Hypocrites of ‘Tort Reform’” 2018 edition. You’ll just have to stay tuned!