Thursday, August 31, 2023

Last Call For The Road To Gilead Goes Through Alabama

Alabama GOP Attorney General Steve Marshall isn't trying at all to hide the notion that he plans to prosecute people who "facilitate" women getting abortions out-of-state.

Alabama’s Republican attorney general said in a court filing that he has the right to prosecute people who make travel arrangements for pregnant women to have out-of-state abortions.

In a court filing Monday, attorneys for Attorney General Steve Marshall wrote that providing transportation for women in Alabama to leave the state to get an abortion could amount to a “criminal conspiracy.”

The court filing comes in response to lawsuits against Marshall that was filed in July from two women’s health centers and Yellowhammer Fund, an organization which says it provides “financial and practical support for those who are pregnant and require assistance.” The plaintiffs argue that Marshall violated their constitutional rights by publicly stating that organizations which help pregnant women in Alabama get an abortion out of state could be criminally investigated.

“Alabama can no more regulate out-of-state abortions than another state can deem its laws legalizing abortions to apply to Alabama,” the Yellowhammer Fund lawsuit argues.

Marshall is now asking Judge Myron Thompson to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that helping a woman avoid Alabama’s restrictions by facilitating an abortion elsewhere is a conspiracy.

“The conspiracy is what is being punished, even if the final conduct never occurs,” Marshall’s filing states. “That conduct is Alabama-based and is within Alabama’s power to prohibit.”

Alabama has one of the strictest abortion bans in the country. In the wake of the Dobbs Supreme Court decision last summer, several Republican-led states passed strict anti-abortion laws, while several others, including Alabama, that had passed so-called trigger laws anticipating an eventual overturn of Roe v. Wade saw their new restrictions go into effect.

What Alabama Republicans, and Republicans everywhere in America want, is a pliant populace ruled by fear. women afraid of getting abortions in other states because their friends, family, and activists would face prison time for helping them in any way.

They want women alone and afraid.

All of us have to stand up to these assholes together. 

Orange Meltdown, Con't

As Donald Trump's constant legal troubles continue, it seems like every day there's a new development in at least one legal venue where Trump is facing ruination, and this week is no different. We switch gears to New York AG Tish James and her civil fraud case against Trump, where both sides are asking for summary judgment ahead of October's scheduled state civil fraud trial.
Before Donald J. Trump was indicted four times over, he was sued by New York’s attorney general, who said that for years the former president, his business and members of his family had fraudulently overvalued their assets by billions of dollars.

Before any of those criminal trials will take place, Mr. Trump is scheduled for a civil trial in New York in October. During the trial, the attorney general, Letitia James, will seek to bar him and three of his children from leading their family business, the Trump Organization, and to require him to pay a fine of around $250 million.

On Wednesday, Ms. James fired an opening salvo, arguing that a trial is not necessary to find that Mr. Trump and the other defendants inflated the value of their assets in annual financial statements, fraudulently obtaining favorable loans and insurance arrangements.

The fraud was so pervasive, she said in a court filing, that Mr. Trump had falsely boosted his net worth by between $812 million and $2.2 billion each year over the course of a decade.

“Based on the undisputed evidence, no trial is required for the court to determine that defendants presented grossly and materially inflated asset values,” the filing said.

But Mr. Trump’s lawyers, in their own motion, argued that the entire case should be thrown out, relying in large part on a recent appellate court decision that appeared as if it could significantly narrow the scope of the case because of a legal time limit. Mr. Trump had received most of the loans in question too long ago for the matter to be considered by a court, his lawyers argue.

“The appellate division has now limited the reach of the N.Y. A.G.’s crusade against President Trump and his family” wrote Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Christopher M. Kise, Michael Madaio and Clifford S. Robert.

Both filings seek what is known as summary judgment, or a ruling from the judge that they are entitled to a victory before trial based on undisputed facts in evidence.

Ms. James sought that ruling on the claim at the core of her case — that Mr. Trump’s financial statements were fraudulent — and if she prevails, it would mark a significant victory and could smooth her path to a potential win at trial on the remaining claims.

If Mr. Trump won even partial summary judgment, the case could become a shadow of what it once appeared, significantly lowering the stakes of the October trial.

Or the judge could deny both bids for early victory, which would simply set the case for trial.

The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, is scheduled to hold a hearing in late September and could rule then.

Ms. James’s lawsuit disputes the value of some of Mr. Trump’s best-known properties, including Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, and Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan. In her new filing, she wrote that, given the way that the worth of Trump Tower was calculated in 2018, it was overvalued by nearly $175 million. The following year, she said, the value of the building was falsely boosted by nearly $323 million.

“At the end of the day this is a documents case,” the filing unsealed on Wednesday said, adding that the documents left not a shred of doubt that Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements “do not even remotely reflect the ‘estimated current value’ of his assets.”

Ms. James also took aim at Mr. Trump for submitting the financial statements to obtain loans for a golf resort outside Miami, a hotel in Washington and a hotel in Chicago.

Yet Mr. Trump’s lawyers argue that Justice Engoron should throw out those transactions from the case, citing the recent appellate court ruling. In that ruling, the appeals court dismissed Ms. James’s case against his daughter, Ivanka Trump, because the accusations concerned conduct that had occurred too long ago. As Mr. Trump’s lawyers interpret the appellate ruling, any loans that Mr. Trump and his company received before July 2014 were too old to be included in the case.

The appeals court declined to throw out the case against Mr. Trump, his company and his two adult sons — effectively leaving it to Justice Engoron to decide. But Mr. Trump’s lawyers noted in their motion for summary judgment that the loans for the Chicago hotel and Florida resort were negotiated before the July 2014 legal deadline.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers also argued that Mr. Trump’s lenders did not rely heavily on his financial statements when issuing him loans, and that the lenders reaped millions from their dealings with the former president.

“The sophisticated private parties all profited considerably from successfully consummated transactions,” Mr. Trump’s lawyers wrote. “Thus, ‘fraud’ cannot exist in the abstract or solely in the mind of the N.Y. A.G.”
This case too seems destined for a Trump-friendly Supreme Court, given the defendant is a ex-Oval Office occupant. Trump may not be able to force the trial into federal court, but I imagine he'll appeal any verdict against him as high as he can possibly go. Whether or not SCOTUS will take anything up is up in the air, but Trump will certainly demand it.

Hell, there's a fair chance he's back in the White House by the time this gets to SCOTUS, and we already know exactly what's going to happen if he does.
Former President Donald Trump joined controversial radio host Glenn Beck for an interview on Tuesday and was asked flat out if he would use the office of the president to jail his political opponents – as he promised to do in 2016.

“You said in 2016, you know, ‘lock her up.’ And then when you became president, you said, ‘We don’t do that in America.’ That’s just not the right thing to do. That’s what they’re doing. Do you regret not locking her up? And if you’re president again, will you lock people up?” Beck asked Trump.

“Well, I’ll give you an example. Uh, the answer is you have no choice because they’re doing it to us,” Trump replied, making clear he would.

“I always had such great respect for the office of the president and the presidency and but the office of the president. And I never hit Biden as hard as I could have. And then I heard he was trying to indict me and it was him that was doing it,” Trump continued, adding:

"You know, I don’t think he’s sharp enough to think about much, but he was there and he was probably the one giving the order. But he was, you know, hard to believe that he even thinks about that because he’s gone. But then I said, well, they’re actually trying to indict me because every one of these indictments is him, including Bragg. But he put his top people.

I don’t know if you know this, he put his top person into the office of the Manhattan district attorney. They’ve been in total coordination with Fani Willis. The woman that I never met, that they accused me of rape, that’s being run by a Democrat, a Democrat operative, and paid for by the Democrat party. You know, so many of these days, I have a couple of other lawsuits all funded against me by the Democrats. But these are sick people. These are evil people."
He's telling us that he will put dozens, maybe hundreds of Democrats in jail. We shouldn't exactly give him the chance, right?

The Turtle's Sad Ending, Con't

Mitch McConnell needed another reboot at an event in nearby Covington, KY on Wednesday afternoon.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze again Wednesday, this time during a gaggle with reporters in Covington, Kentucky, stopping for more than 30 seconds after he was asked if he would run for re-election.

The Kentucky Republican froze in July at a news conference on Capitol Hill, going silent for 19 seconds before being escorted away from the cameras. McConnell, 81, returned shortly afterward and continued his news conference, telling reporters, “I’m fine.”

When it became apparent that McConnell had frozen again on Wednesday, an aide came up to him and asked, “Did you hear the question, senator?” McConnell continued to be unresponsive.

Once McConnell re-engaged, he responded briefly to another question about Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican; his aide needed to repeat the question to him. McConnell was then asked about former President Donald Trump, another question that had to be repeated. McConnell brushed off the question because he does not usually engage in Trump-related topics.

He then left. Reporters did not ask McConnell about the episode before he departed.

"Leader McConnell felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference today," a McConnell spokesperson said.

McConnell "feels fine," but will consult a doctor before his next event as "a prudential measure," an aide said.

McConnell spoke for about 20 minutes on Wednesday before the question-and-answer session with reporters.
Again, as someone who has been opining on Kentucky politics for 15 years now, I am telling you right now that there are zero scenarios where McConnell isn't replaced by an even worse Republican. Daniel Cameron, James Comer, Kelly Craft, Ryan Quarles, Thomas Massie, hell, even Matt Bevin might be on the list. 
Kentucky Republicans in the legislature get to decide who Gov. Beshear gets to choose from, and precisely none of those folks will be anyone other than a screaming MAGA chud. The party in control of the Senate seat gets to pick three names, and the Governor has to choose within 21 days.

Beshear might try to appoint a Democrat to the seat should McConnell not be able to continue and I hope he does challenge the law.

I don't see him winning however. Kentucky's Supreme Court is not going to side with him on this. Beshear's argument when he vetoed the bill doing this was that it violated the 17th Amendment of the US Constitution, and if it's a federal battle before SCOTUS, he'll 100% lose.

We'll see what happens, but this battle is going to get closer as the days roll on, and it may decide the Senate in 2024 at least temporarily. A special election would be a jungle primary mess, almost certainly coming down to two Republicans, so even if Beshear wins the legal fight, Kentucky political gravity will kick in and we'll have another GOP senator anyhow.

Like I said, there's no scenario where McConnell isn't replaced by a worse Republican.

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