Fox News 2024-03-21 10:03:27


Former TV executive ignites firestorm after he suggests Barron Trump ‘fair game’

A former NBC honcho sparked intense backlash for suggesting former President Trump‘s youngest son was now “fair game” for turning 18 years old.

Mike Sington, a retired NBCUniversal senior executive who is better known for his pro-liberal social media posts, commemorated Barron Trump’s birthday on Wednesday with a bizarre post on X. 

“Barron Trump turns 18 today. He’s fair game now,” Sington wrote, sharing an image of him with his father. 

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Critics unleashed on Sington for targeting Barron, who has largely stayed out of the limelight during and after the Trump presidency. 

Sington deleted the post and walked back the comment but stopped short of offering an apology. 

“I posted he was ‘fair game’ now, meaning, as an adult, he’s ‘fair game’ for criticism from the press,” Sington told Newsweek in a statement. “Someone pointed out to me ‘fair game’ could mean fair game to be harmed. I don’t wish physical harm on anyone, so I took it down. I listen to the comments and criticism I receive.”

Neither Sington nor the Trump campaign immediately responded to Fox News Digital‘s requests for comment.

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This wasn’t the first time Barron Trump was the target of his father’s political adversaries. In 2019, Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan ignited a firestorm during impeachment hearings for cracking a joke at the expense of the then-13-year-old, saying during her testimony, “The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.”

In 2018, actor Peter Fonda posted on Twitter he wanted to “rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles.”

In 2017, Katie Rich, then a writer for “Saturday Night Live” was suspended for saying on Twitter that Barron Trump “will be this country’s first homeschool shooter.”

‘SNL’ WRITER RETURNS TO SHOW AFTER SUSPENSION FOR BARRON TRUMP TWEET

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Additionally, “Jeopardy!” host Ken Jennings made a joke at the expense of Barron in response to a report of the then-11-year-old’s reaction to Kathy Griffin’s infamous photoshoot featuring a prop of the president’s bloodied severed head, which Barron had thought was real.

“Barron Trump saw a very long necktie on a heap of expired deli meat in a dumpster. He thought it was his dad & his little heart is breaking,” Ken Jennings wrote at the time

Karlan, Ford, Rich and Jennings all issued apologies for their comments. 

Tributes pour in after former Cowboys defensive lineman dies aged 66

Don Smerek, a former Dallas Cowboys defensive star, died last week after a fight with cancer. He was 66.

Smerek played college football at Nevada. After going undrafted, Smerek eventually signed with the Cowboys in 1981. The defensive lineman went on to spend seven seasons with the franchise, playing in 69 games. 

He finished his career in Dallas with 14.5 sacks.

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“He was a great teammate, a great person,” Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Cowboys standout Randy White said. “He was just solid as a football player and I can always count on him. He would come in on third downs and rush the passer and the thing about Don as a football player, he was 100 percent.”

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White also recalled how he would often go fishing with Smerek.

“A great teammate playing football and we became really great friends off the field. He used to be my fishing partner and we used to go fishing and all the things that go along with that.”

Smerek is a Nevada native and moved to Texas after he retired from the NFL. Smerek’s sister Debbie Nye spoke about her brother’s “magnetic personality.”

“His teammates are lifelong friends, even going back to high school, college and NFL,” Nye said via The Dallas Morning News. “There’s still all of those people, were pretty much by his side. He was a larger-than-life individual, a very magnetic personality.”

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The family will honor Smerek’s life in a private memorial service that is expected to take place later this month in Henderson, Nevada. Smerek is survived by his wife, Tandi, his three brothers, his sister, as well as several nieces and nephews.

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GOP senator to unveil findings after bombshell investigation into transgender sports

FIRST ON FOX: A report detailing the “helplessness” felt by female students due to biological males, or transgender women, participating with their female sports teams was to be released Thursday after a congressional investigation into proposed Title IX changes by the Biden administration.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), is expected to release the findings of the committee staff’s investigation into the proposed changes and their effect on female sports in a letter to his committee colleagues. The investigation included interviews with dozens of people, including female athletes and coaches, parents, industry experts, doctors and representatives from higher-education institutions, Cassidy said.

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Title IX is designed to prevent sex-based discrimination in education and related activities that are recipients of federal money.

Last year, President Biden’s administration proposed a rule that would expand Title IX to include gender identity along with biological sex. The term “gender identity” is used to describe by which gender an individual chooses to identify. 

“They feel helpless,” Cassidy told Fox News Digital in an interview on Wednesday, describing the feelings he heard from female athletes.

“This is kind of a theme that we got: ‘Why am I even trying? I don’t have any hope whatsoever,'” he said.

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The HELP committee report details the story of a woman at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, who described her motivational decline following the addition of a transgender woman, who was biologically male, to her swim team.

“It felt unfair and demotivating … to even want to try [or] to want to swim better,” the unnamed female athlete is quoted as saying.

Sixteen of 17 female swimmers on the team ultimately penned a letter to the athletic director in which they relayed “feeling manipulated and scared.”

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“Our lives have been consumed by this issue. We cannot think about our classes as we sit in lectures, we cannot enjoy our practices,” the women wrote.

The report summarizes the similar testimony of a female cyclist at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado: “I’ve wondered what’s the point in even racing,” she is quoted as saying.

Two members of the women’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania, which became a headline-generating subject during transgender swimmer Lia Thomas’s domination in the sport, recalled feeling that their school was prioritizing Thomas over them.

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“Our voices as women were completely silenced,” they said. “If we wanted privacy and safety and equality, then we were bigots. This has roots in misogyny, and allowing this to go on is misogynistic.”

“This is not bigotry,” Cassidy said, noting that those interviewed for the investigation did not have anything against transgender individuals.

“These people we interviewed stressed they’ve got nothing against transgenders as a group,” he said.

Riley Gaines, a former NCAA champion swimmer at the University of Kentucky, told the committee that female competitors were never warned about having to share their locker room with biological males, with male anatomy, at the 2022 NCAA Championship. When she realized that was the case, Gaines said she “experienced feelings of betrayal.” When she questioned the policy, she said the attitudes of officials were “if women feel uncomfortable with this, they should feel apologetic” and that they are ultimately those who should seek counseling to overcome it.

Since experiencing this, Gaines, an OutKick contributor and host for “Gaines for Girls,” has become an advocate for protecting women’s sports.

According to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, the proposed Title IX rule change was because “Every student should be able to have the full experience of attending school in America, including participating in athletics, free from discrimination.” 

“Being on a sports team is an important part of the school experience for students of all ages,” he said at the time of the rule’s announcement. 

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But Cassidy pushed back on this, saying this rule is “the death of Title IX.”

“I find it ironic the Biden administration talks about the mental health of the transgender individuals as a reason why they’re pushing those,” he said.

“They’re totally ignoring the mental health and the feelings of fairness of the women who are competing,” the senator said. 

Cassidy said that, alternatively, “We are trying to actually uphold the original intent of Title IX” by ensuring women are given a fair shot in relation to men.

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On Wednesday, Cassidy and fellow HELP member Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., penned letters to the NCAA and Cardona to inquire about the policies on transgender participation and their enforcement as well as official communications on the controversial subject.

Neither the Department of Education nor the NCAA provided comments when contacted by Fox News Digital.

Texas woman stunned to learn her $15 Goodwill gown has a star-studded past

One man’s trash may be another man’s treasure — but sometimes that treasure turns out to be a gown designed by none other than Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal dressmaker.

Kansas Michalke, a content creator and mom of two in Austin, Texas, said she always had a knack for finding hidden gems while thrifting.

“[My family] was not well off in any capacity,” she told Fox News Digital. “My mom was a single mom, my dad was a single dad, and we would do garage sales … and this was something I grew up with.”

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“We never really cared about designers or brand names or anything like that,” she said.

“We were just simple little country people who [would] go straight to the clearance section or thrift shops. It wasn’t anything that I was ever ashamed of. And I always liked having things that were different.”

Michalke was nearing the end of her shopping excursion when she came across a bright, shiny evening gown.

“I did my last lap and I saw the twinkle of the dress and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this will be so fun to play dress up with,’ and I just tossed it in the cart,” Michalke recalled.

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“I didn’t look at the label. I didn’t look at anything. I was like, ‘My daughters will love this. I hope it fits.’”

It wasn’t until Michalke got into the passenger seat with her husband at the wheel that she realized she’d found something special.

“When I typed in [the designer’s] name, Jackie Kennedy popped up and I thought, ‘No way, this is crazy.’ And then that’s when I did start doing full research on Oleg Cassini, and [discovered] just how iconic he was,” Michalke said.

Michalke had purchased a vintage Oleg Cassini-designed dress. 

The ticket price was $15.

While the initial glitz and glam of the garment first caught Michalke’s attention, she also noticed the craftsmanship of the gown — specifically, the sequin work and the two-sized pearl detail.

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She continued to dig more into the work and life of Oleg Cassini, discovering his connection to the starlets of Old Hollywood such as Grace Kelly.

But it was Cassini’s relationship with Jackie Kennedy that really solidified his place in the history of fashion.

The fashionable former first lady even referred to him as her “secretary of style,” according to L’Officiel, a French fashion magazine.

Cassini was Jackie Kennedy’s principal fashion designer. He even designed the gown she wore during her husband John Kennedy’s presidential inauguration in 1961, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 

Cassini died in 2006, and was “the oldest living fashion designer in the history of American design,” according to this biography in the museum’s digital archives.

Michalke shared her Cassini find on social media, where many users told her about their own Cassini-branded garments — but the Texas mom’s gown was a bit different.

“What I found is different because mine wasn’t a mass-produced item. I can’t find the dress anywhere online,” she said.

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“It’s definitely ’80s or earlier because of how the tag [is] hand-sewn in, and they didn’t use machine sewing until the ‘90s, so I know that it’s either ’80s or before, but there’s nothing else I can find on it.”

She started to do research on the tag and found that the dress may have been a part of Cassini’s “Black Tie Collection.”

Michalke has tried to find other styles similar to her dress by Cassini, but said she cannot find anything that resembles her glistening gown.

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“I can’t find anything like it, and so I’m thinking that’s what makes it even more special. Is it potentially like a one-off piece? Maybe a runway piece. I just don’t know,” she added.

While Michalke hopes to one day learn more about the dress and figure out its actual worth, she mostly cares about wearing it while playing dress-up with her girls.

“My four-year-old Memphis is obsessed with fashion, and her exact words were, ‘Mom, this is iconic,'” Michalke said with a laugh.

What made the $15 find even more exciting was that the moment Michalke tried on the dress, it fit like a glove.

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Michalke said she lives by the phrase, “Boycott being boring” — and this gem is arguably anything but boring.

Her love of thrifting and finding great pieces at Goodwill has inspired her to write a thrifting guide for others filled with tips and tricks on how to find exactly what you want while hitting the clearance rack.

“I’m convinced that there’s not a bad thrift store. I’ve never met one, and I go thrift shopping [at] second-hand estate sales, at least four times a week,” she said.

A representative at Goodwill Industries International told Fox News Digital that its staff loves hearing when Goodwill customers find “exciting and rare pieces like this.”

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“It just goes to show the beauty of thrifting and that you can find just about anything at Goodwill. It really is a treasure hunt in every store,” the rep said. 

“One of the cool things about shopping here is each piece has a past life, sometimes with a pretty great story behind it. We hope she loves this iconic find!”

Fox News Digital reached out to the Oleg Cassini brand for comment as well.

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New movie calling White people ‘most dangerous animal’ on planet bombs at box office

A satire film intended to send a provocative message about race relations bombed at the box office on its opening weekend.

Focus Features’ “The American Society of Magical Negroes” took the 9th spot at the box office last weekend, grossing $1,304,270 while playing in 1,147 locations around the U.S.

The film centers around a young man who is recruited to be part of a “society” where Black people use their magical powers to make White people comfortable, so that they don’t hurt Black people. 

The movie’s title plays off a trope of Black characters in films who are set up to help White characters in their pursuits, like Michael Clarke Duncan’s character in “The Green Mile,” according to a review from the Los Angeles Times.

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In the trailer, protagonist “Aren,” played by Justice Smith, learns he must put White people’s needs before his own so that the secret society maintains their magical powers.

White people, when they are uncomfortable, are “the most dangerous animal on the planet,” David Alan Grier’s character “Roger” explains to Aren. 

“That’s why we fight White discomfort every day. Because the happier they are, the safer we are,” he says in one scene that’s featured in a theatrical trailer.

Society members also use a “White Tears” sadness barometer to track White discomfort in the film.

The pic did poorly with reviewers, earning just 31% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Even critics who were sympathetic to the movie’s political message said it failed to deliver.

Film critic Carlos Aguilar panned the pic as “too timid to land any satirical blows.”

“The movie’s predictably speechified resolution, with Aren literally taking the stage to speak his truth, finally renders the sociopolitical critique mild and inconsequential, a disappointing outcome for a premise that had the potential to be truly incendiary,” he wrote in the Times.

The Washington Post film critic Michael O’Sullivan also was dissatisfied with the movie’s execution, calling it a “bloodless satire that’s too eager to please.” 

“In Aren’s satisfying flash of anger, ‘The American Society of Magical Negroes’ briefly gets real. Otherwise, like Aren, the film itself feels overly deferential at times: as if it wants to make people comfortable when it should want to make them squirm, at least a little,” he wrote.

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Arkansas airport exec injured in shootout with federal agents won’t survive, brother says

The executive director of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Arkansas, who was wounded during a firefight at his home Tuesday morning, allegedly shot at federal agents as they were attempting to serve a search warrant, authorities said. 

Bryan Malinowski, 53, was struck during the gunfire exchange just after 6 a.m., as agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrived, the agency said. 

“The subject of the investigation was injured with gunshot wounds and treated on scene by paramedics before being transported to a local hospital,” the ATF said in a statement. 

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The wounded agent had non-life-threatening injuries, the ATF said. 

On Wednesday, Malinowski’s older brother, Matthew Malinowski, 55, told Fox News Digital that his brother was shot in the head and that doctors didn’t expect him to survive. He was unconscious as of Wednesday, he said. 

The ATF declined to say what the search warrant was in relation to, and Matthew Malinowski, a Pennsylvania resident, said he hadn’t been told anything about the circumstances of the case. He noted that his brother was an avid collector of firearms. 

“It’s all speculation at this point,” he said. “I got a feeling that he bought something he shouldn’t have. That’s the only thing I can think of.”

The shooting came as a shock to the elder Malinowski, who said his brother was in Washington D.C., a few days ago meeting with Arkansas senators. 

“That’s the circle he ran in,” he said. 

Bryan Malinowski also owned five properties, made somewhere between $270,000 to $280,000 annually, and was responsible for around 2,000 employees under him at the airport in Little Rock, his brother said. 

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“When you’re in that position, life is great. Why would you screw it up with a small infraction?” Matthew Malinowski said. “He always kept his nose clean. He had no enemies that I know of.”

Bryan Malinowski’s mother, Barbara Haigh, expressed grief at the situation. 

“That’s my baby. That’s one of my babies,” she said. 

Arkansas State Police are investigating the case. 

Shane Carter, public affairs director for the Clinton National Airport, previously told Fox News Digital that Bryan Malinowski is the airport’s executive director. He declined to comment further. 

Hours after the shooting, however, Airport Commission Chairman Bill Walker named Tom Clarke as acting airport executive director.

“Today’s incident saddens us, and we pray for everyone involved,” he said Tuesday. “As the chairman of the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission, I have named Tom Clarke, the airport’s deputy executive director, as acting executive director. The airport’s day-to-day operations continue as normal.”

Bryan Malinowski joined Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in 2008 as director of Properties, Planning and Development and was promoted to deputy director in 2009, according to his biography on the airport website. He became executive director in 2019, according to a profile on the airport’s website. 

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He brought more than 30 years of airport leadership experience when he was hired, holding positions with the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, El Paso International Airport and Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Shea De Bruyn, who lives next to Bryan Malinowski, told FOX 16 that she woke up to gunfire across the street.

“I heard about five or six, like, loud bangs,” De Bruyn said. “My heart was racing and the dogs were barking. I’m just really curious as to what was going on just a few houses down.”

Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford ‘really, really upset’ by investigation findings

Christine Blasey Ford said in a new interview she was “devastated” in 2018 when federal investigations found no evidence to support sexual assault charges against Brett Kavanaugh.

A memo released by then-Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., in November 2018 said the Senate and FBI’s investigations found “no evidence” to substantiate any sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, including the one made by Ford. They also included a claim by a woman represented by Michael Avenatti that Kavanaugh regularly participated in “gang rape” parties, a charge so brazen that many Democrats disavowed it.

“I was devastated when that report came out,” Ford told “CBS Sunday Morning.” “I was really, really upset. That was a really difficult period that I think was the beginning of the darkest times for me.”

CBS correspondent Tracy Smith said Ford’s moment in the national spotlight was “deeply traumatizing,” bringing up death threats Ford says poured in after her accusation against Kavanaugh became public. She says they included people threatening to harm her children. 

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Ford told CBS the threatening letters seemed like a coordinated effort by just a few people, adding they would “have such similarity to them.”

“Do these people know each other?” she wondered. “Because how could the wording be that similar?… It’s still scary.”

Ford has been on a media tour to promote her memoir “One Way Back,” which discusses her experiences around coming forward with her bombshell accusation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh in 2018. She’s also sat down with NPR and ABC’s “The View” this week for sympathetic interviews. 

Kavanaugh at the time had been nominated for the Supreme Court by President Trump and appeared to be heading toward a relatively smooth, if typically partisan, confirmation.

Ford alleged Kavanaugh attacked her at a summer high school party when he was heavily intoxicated, saying she believed he would rape her before she was able to escape. In her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 27, 2018, she described Kavanaugh and a friend laughing while she was in distress and that the incident had profoundly affected the rest of her life. 

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Kavanaugh denied the allegation, angrily calling the nomination process a “national disgrace” when he testified the same day. He and his supporters have noted Ford couldn’t produce corroborating witnesses at the time to put the two at the same party, or remember the party in question even taking place.

“This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade confident and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country,” Kavanaugh said. “And as we all know in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around.”

Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed to the Supreme Court in October 2018, getting only one Democratic vote in his favor from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Ford told CBS she wasn’t surprised that no one else remembered the party where the alleged attack happened because those kinds of get-togethers were such a common occurrence in their community. She didn’t think it lent weight to Kavanaugh’s story, however.

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“It doesn’t bolster his story,” she said. “For survivors out there, you know it happened to you, so even if no one ever believes you or no one thought it happened, there are people that are assaulted all the time where no one else was even there, and that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

More than 3.7 million cars on the road have ‘park outside’ recalls

More than 3.7 million cars that are currently on the road have a “park outside” recall, according to recent data from Carfax. 

That’s a 40% increase in cars with those recalls nationwide since May 2023. The number of cars with park outside recalls in some areas nearly doubled. 

In Atlanta, for instance, there were 113,000 cars on the road with park outside recalls in January. That’s up from the roughly 64,000 vehicles reported in May 2023.  

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California had 368,000 cars with park outside recalls on the road as of January. About 189,000 of those were concentrated in the greater Los Angeles area. It’s a staggering jump from the nearly 93,000 cars with those recalls reported in the area in May 2023. 

These figures, according to Carfax spokesperson Mike Lavigne, account for cars that have had a recall but don’t have a fix yet and cars that have fixes available, but car owners haven’t brought them into the shop yet. 

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Hyundai Motor America and Kia America issued park outside recalls for more than 3.3 million vehicles in September due to the risk of fire, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In June 2023, Lincoln issued a park outside recall for over 142,000 cars due to the same fire risk, warning owners to park “outside and away from structures and other vehicles until the recall has been remedied,” the NHTSA said. That warning came just one month after Chrysler issued a park outside recall for certain Jeep Cherokee vehicles, due to the risk of fire. 

“The park outside recall is one of the most rarely issued recalls by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” Lavigne said. “It doesn’t come around every day, and they’re considered one of the more dangerous recalls because of the hazard of fire.” 

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It’s particularly concerning because this warning doesn’t just apply to cars that are in operation but while they are off and parked in someone’s garage or near another vehicle, Lavigne explained. 

It’s scary because something “could happen with no outside interference or any human interaction,” he added. 

The top 10 cities with the most park outside recalls as of January:

Los Angeles: 368,298

New York: 155,501

Atlanta: 155,343

Dallas-Ft. Worth: 334,524

Chicago: 144,440

Philadelphia: 171,951

Phoenix: 104,247

Washington, D.C.: 2,843

Houston: 334,524

Orlando-Daytona, Florida: 334,013

HUGH HEWITT: Will Trump be afforded due process like the rest of us?

It does not seem possible that there is no legal recourse for former President Trump to challenge the requirement that he either pay the full amount of the $464 million fine assessed against him immediately or post a prohibitively expensive and apparently impossible-to-obtain bond to satisfy a civil fraud judgment pending appeal. 

That judgment was entered against him by New York trial court Justice Arthur Engoron, who also ordered Trump to pay pre-judgment interest as well as a 9% post-judgment interest rate in the case of civil fraud brought against Trump by the Attorney General of the State of New York, Leticia James.

Engoron is a Democrat. James is a Democrat. Engoron found — even before the trial began — that the former president had consistently committed fraud by inflating the value of his assets by billions of dollars. No jury was involved in this case. It ought to be titled Engoron and James v. Trump. It is a joke of a “case” but no serious person should be laughing.

I represented landowners and developers for decades before retiring a half dozen years ago from active practice. In 30 years of doing so on behalf of some of the country’s largest developers, I never encountered or even heard of such a case.

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The reason should be obvious: Banks that lend to developers do their own due diligence. They have underwriters who scrutinize loans. They are not in the business of losing money by lending money based on wildly inflated claims of the value of collateral. If they end up defrauded, they do indeed sue for damages.  

Thus, this case with no private sector plaintiff seemed absurd from the start given that lack of an actual injured party stepping forward. It is, however, the absurd judgment amount and the onerous payment terms pre-appeals that strike me as crying out for some court in New York that values that state’s reputation as a place to do business to step forward and find a way to intervene, stay the payment or the posting of the bond until after appeals have run their course.

This seemed so obvious a necessary and almost inevitable halt to this runaway series of lawsuits that I am more than surprised to have to write this column.

“Ms. James’s open antipathy toward Mr. Trump has been notable,” concluded the New York Times. So, too, has the judge in this show trial done everything possible to strip away any pretense of a just process much less a just decision. In a phrase: It stinks. Everyone knows it. But will any court in New York stop it?

The “finding” of damages — actual and “punitive”— of $464 million is unprecedented, and even more so because there is no victim. Indeed, the only victim in this case is going to be the State of New York, which just put up a neon sign warning every borrower that, should they be thought a Republican whom Ms. James dislikes and should he, she or it end up in the court of a cabby-turned-jurist, they should just surrender all they own and declare Chapter 11.

“Justice Engoron was appointed to the New York City Civil Court in 2003 and was elected — he ran unopposed — to the State Supreme Court in 2015,” the New York Times added in a different profile. “Before his time on the bench, he served as a law clerk to a State Supreme Court judge in Manhattan.” The 74-year old justice (as trial judges are called in New York) has enjoyed an obscure and perhaps one could even say an undistinguished career on the bench, and he clearly loved his year in the spotlight.

But a $464 million dollar judgment with punitive interest rates attached for a statutory civil offense for which no victim has stepped forward? Do you think this is just? If not just, even in the ballpark of “fair?”

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Of course, it is not just or fair. It is ridiculous and, far worse, it offends any decent sense of “due process.” States “may also seize and sell property, including land, to recover the amount owed,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the Supreme Court last May in a “Takings Clause” case, Tyler v. Hennepin County, Minnesota. But the Chief Justice went on to note that the “principle that a government may not take more from a taxpayer than she owes can trace its origins at least as far back as Runnymeade in 1215, where King John swore in the Magna Carta that when his sheriff or bailiff came to collect any debts owed him from a dead man, they could re-move property ‘until the debt which is evident shall be fully paid to us; and the residue shall be left to the executors to fulfil the will of the deceased.’”

Tyler is indeed a Takings Clause case, but there is a heavy dose of due process in the background: “A taxpayer who loses her $40,000 house to the State to fulfill a $15,000 tax debt has made a far greater contribution to the public fisc than she owed,” the Chief Justice noted. “The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more.”

Tyler reminds of Jones v Flowers, a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court case that was a due process case that involved inadequate notice for seizure of a property by the government for non-payment of taxes. In this case, the Chief Justice, again writing for the majority, found that there “is no reason to suppose that the State will ever be less than fully zealous in its efforts to secure the tax revenue it needs.”

The Chief Justice added: “The same cannot be said for the State’s efforts to ensure that its citizens receive proper notice before the State takes action against them.”

“In this case, the State is exerting extraordinary power against a property owner—taking and selling a house he owns,” Roberts concluded. “It is not too much to insist that the State do a bit more to attempt to let him know about it when the notice letter addressed to him is returned unclaimed.”

The state of New York is exerting “extraordinary power” against the former president and it ought to be stopped until what appears to me the kangaroo court proceeding gets at least a look-see by an intermediate New York State appellate court.

If at the end of that and all other related appeals the judgment against Trump holds up, improbable as that seems given these unprecedented proceedings, then he will have to pay this ridiculous fine and his real estate empire will suffer an enormous blow, as will his campaign for president. But that should not be before any further appellate review.

Democrats cheering this rush-to-ruin-Trump should remember the old rule: That which gets rewarded gets repeated. Do we really want state attorneys general bringing such overtly political cases in front of such an obviously angry and partisan judge, even if the target is a political opponent? Does the State of New York in particular want “banana republic justice system” tattooed on it?

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I cannot find anyone who will write persuasively in defense of this unprecedented verdict and onerous procedure. It is effectively a “taking” of a large part of Trump’s real estate empire, and it comes as he is the presumptive nominee of the Republicans to run against a very weak incumbent in President Joe Biden. It comes soon after another unusual finding of liability against Trump for defamation and just prior to the start of a ridiculous criminal case against Trump that is now slated to begin in Manhattan in April. All three cases are in the New York State courts. Anyone notice a pattern here?

Investor and “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary has taken to cable news to denounce the consequences for New York business of this “judgment.”

O’Leary is passionate on the subject and not because of love for Trump. He makes that clear again and again. O’Leary is speaking out because he knows what businesses take into account when deciding where to operate. Want to take a bad New York business environment and make it even worse, perhaps even toxic? Then turn the state’s “justice” system into a partisan shake-down and destroy operation that would make the Mob blush.

Is any court listening? 

Hugh Hewitt is one of the country’s leading journalists of the center-right. A son of Ohio and a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, Hewitt has been a Professor of Law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since 1996, where he teaches Constitutional Law. Hewitt launched his eponymous radio show from Los Angeles in 1990, and it is today syndicated to hundreds of stations and outlets across the country every Monday through Friday morning. Hewitt has frequently appeared on every major national news television network, hosted television shows for PBS and MSNBC, written for every major American paper, authored a dozen books and moderated a score of Republican candidate debates, most recently the November 2023 Republican presidential debate in Miami and four Republican presidential debates in the 2015-16 cycle. Hewitt focuses his radio show and this column on the Constitution, national security, American politics and the Cleveland Browns and Guardians. Hewitt has interviewed tens of thousands of guests from Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump over his 40 years in broadcast, and this column previews the lead story that will drive his radio show today.

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