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Lawfare Trumps Justice
Jim Rickards

As you know by now, Donald Trump was found guilty yesterday on all felony counts in his hush money trial in New York.

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for July 11, 2024. That’s just four days before the Republican National Convention begins in Milwaukee on July 15. That’s not a coincidence, by the way. It’s calculated to further tarnish his image ahead of the convention.

It’s part of the pattern of lawfare and abuse of the judicial system that began with the Russia hoax in 2016 even before Trump was elected president that year. The campaign against Trump only increased from there, which included two impeachments.

I wasn’t at all surprised by yesterday’s verdict — I’ve predicted that Trump would likely be convicted in at least one of the several criminal trials against him. This is what I wrote eight months ago:

The Trump indictments are already handed up. There are two federal cases, two state cases and 91 felony charges in total.

Trump is highly likely to be convicted of something because the jurisdictions were carefully selected by Democrat prosecutors to be 90% Democrat… so the jury pools will be out to convict Trump…

None of the possible defenses or defective charges may matter. Trump’s lawfare opponents among the prosecutors carefully selected the venues to maximize the likelihood of a conviction… The venues were chosen to ensure anti-Trump juries.


I won’t get into the details of the verdict here. There are plenty of talking heads available on the internet to break the case down.

I’ll just say that as an attorney with decades of legal experience, I can tell you that this is the weakest case I’ve ever seen. It’s a jumble of novel legal theories strung together in pursuit of a predecided outcome. That’s not just my opinion.

Retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz says it’s the weakest case he’s seen in 60 years of legal experience. Other legal experts have expressed similar opinions. Never has a case like this been held in New York. It literally has no precedent.

The fact that it ever got to trial at all is itself remarkable. Former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to pursue the case because it was so weak, as did federal prosecutors within the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, Matthew Colangelo, third in line at the Biden Justice Department, left his post to join the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in 2022. That’s a downward career move. It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that it was a calculated move to coordinate federal and state efforts to pursue this case against Trump.

When you add it all up, Trump was facing the full force of lawfare in a hostile venue so no one should be surprised by what happened yesterday. Having said that, the New York case will almost certainly be reversed on appeal. Here’s why…

Egregious Violations

The trial judge violated the First Amendment with his gag order on Trump. The idea that a defendant in a criminal case couldn’t criticize those persecuting him would have been anathema to the authors of the First Amendment.

The judge also violated the Fifth Amendment because the crime was not specified in the indictment and Trump was denied due process of law.

He violated the Sixth Amendment because Trump was denied the right “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” and was denied the right to have “process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.”

The judge also violated the 14th Amendment, which applies the First, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to state actions under the due process clause. Four constitutional violations should be more than enough to get the case reversed, but there were scores of other reversible errors committed by the judge.

He never should have heard the case in the first place because he had a conflict of interest. He couldn’t be impartial. He personally donated to the Biden campaign in 2020 and his daughter is a Democratic lobbyist who’s raised millions of dollars to defeat Trump. Even Democrat lawyers have said that this judge never should have been assigned the case.

Also, is it coincidence that the judge assigned to this case is the same judge who presided over the case against the Trump Organization and the case against Trump’s former campaign manager Steve Bannon? It’s highly unlikely. His assignment to this case was almost certainly deliberate based on his anti-Trump bona fides.

The question everyone wants answered is where do things go from here?

The Next Steps

Skeptics may believe that the New York appeals courts (The First Appellate Division where I was sworn in as a lawyer decades ago, and the Court of Appeals) will be as biased as the trial court. That’s not true.

Appellate law is quite different from trial law. There are no witnesses and the facts are not disputed. The matters considered are all points of law. The lawyers submit briefs and deliver oral arguments. Stormy Daniels and the proven liar Michael Cohen (on whose testimony the case was largely decided) will not be in the First Division courtroom.

The First Division Appellate Court will be concerned about two things: getting the law right and not being overruled by the Court of Appeals, the highest court in New York. Both considerations lean in favor of reversing Trump’s convictions and that’s likely to happen.

The difficulty is that the appeals process is unlikely to be concluded before the election. It simply takes time to file the motion, prepare the briefs, schedule the oral arguments and render a judgment. An emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible, but that’s a legal long shot.

“For My Friends, Everything; for My Enemies, the Law”

The bottom line is lawfare against Trump succeeded in this case. They got their conviction and can now call Trump a convicted felon to discredit him ahead of the November election, which was always their plan.

They don’t care about truth or the law. They just wanted the opportunity to call Trump a convicted felon to damage his election prospects. That’s just the reality of it. It’s what lawfare is all about. It’s purely political.

After yesterday’s conviction, people from corrupt third-world nations in Latin America and elsewhere are saying that Trump now knows what it’s like for opponents of their own corrupt regimes.

As the authoritarian former leader of Peru Oscar Benavides once said, “For my friends, everything; for my enemies, the law.” That’s a perfect summation of the lawfare we’re currently witnessing against Trump. And that’s sad. It’s not supposed to happen in the United States, but here we are.

Love Trump or hate him, America’s a different place because of this verdict. The lawfare warriors have crossed the Rubicon.

Get ready, this is going to be a wild election season.



James G. Rickards is the editor of Strategic IntelligenceProject ProphesyCrash Speculator, and Gold Speculator. He is an American lawyer, economist, and investment banker with 40 years of experience working in capital markets on Wall Street. He was the principal negotiator of the rescue of Long-Term Capital Management L.P. (LTCM) by the U.S Federal Reserve in 1998. His clients include institutional investors and government directorates.

His work is regularly featured in the Financial Times, Evening Standard, New York Times, The Telegraph, and Washington Post, and he is frequently a guest on BBC, RTE Irish National Radio, CNN, NPR, CSPAN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, and The Wall Street Journal. He has contributed as an advisor on capital markets to the U.S. intelligence community, and at the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. He has also testified before the U.S. House of Representatives about the 2008 financial crisis. 

Rickards is the author of The New Case for Gold (April 2016), and four New York Times best sellers, Currency Wars (2011), The Death of Money (2014), The Road to Ruin(2016), and Aftermath (2019) from Penguin Random House. And his latest book, The New Great Depression was published in January 2021.






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