Jeb Bush Defends Trump Amid $355M Fraud Judgment: Warns of Cascading Damage

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Bush and Donald Trump traded barbs in the 2016 presidential elections.

Former Republican Florida Governor Jeb Bush defended former President Trump, in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal. The article criticized the recent New York civil court case where the 45th president was ordered to pay a fine of $354.8 million plus interest.

Bush’s opinion piece, entitled “Elon Musk Cases and Donald Trump Cases Imperil Rule of Law,” reads, “Every American has the right to criticize Mr. Trump’s political views–one of us was against him in 2016.”

“…But equal treatment before the law is valuable, and these decisions represent a crisis, not only for our courts but also for the business climate that has enabled the U.S.A. to prosper,” continued the opinion piece. If these rulings are upheld, they could have a cascading effect on the economy and create fear of arbitrary enforcement towards entrepreneurs who run for public office or speak out as citizens.

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The column was written by Palantir’s co-founder Joe Lonsdale and railed against Trump’s recent civil fraud trial, which lasted for months. It resulted in an almost $355 million fine, as well as a three-year ban on Trump operating his business in New York. The opinion piece also spoke against the recent decision by a Delaware court to revoke Elon Musk’s $56-billion compensation from Tesla.

The former President Trump in New York City, January 11, 2024.

Bush ran against Trump during the 2016 presidential elections. The two traded barbs and personal insults. Trump claimed Bush was an “embarrassment” to his family. Bush claimed that Trump was “a Republican in name only” when he said it to the press. He also took another slap at Trump by saying his children loved him after he left the Republican primary.

The former Florida Governor said that after Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol building, Trump “provoked today’s disgusting events.”

Bush wrote in a blog post that “he has gone from creating confusion to inciting insurrection” at the time. “Mr. President, accept your loss, go back to Florida, and let our elected representatives do their job and rebuild trust in our democracy.”

This op-ed is a defense of Bush’s 2016 rival, but not of Trump’s political views. Lonsdale, Bush, and Bush instead call for a “passionate” legal framework that won’t stifle businesses or weaken the economy.

The pair wrote: “New York and Delaware played a major role in American business.” Many major companies have been incorporated in Delaware due to its corporate legal precedents. A significant number of banks are located in New York City, the financial capital of the world. These states’ appellate courts now have the chance to review dangerous judicial decisions and stop further damage being done to their respective judiciaries.

Jeb Bush delivered the Edwin L. Godkin Lecture on September 29, 2016, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

They continued: “If they do not, blue-state legislators may get the satisfaction of sticking it to Messrs. Trump or Musk, but their states will suffer a significant loss.” The damage to the legal system of the United States will be worse. American exceptionalism is based on dispassionate justice, and the country would be worse off if it were to lose this system.

Judge Arthur Engoron presided over the civil fraud case of the Trump Organization at New York City’s court on November 13, 2023.

Trump appealed this ruling and has repeatedly claimed that Arthur Engoron and Letitia James, the New York Attorney General, were motivated by politics in the case.

Trump said to Fox News Digital that a corrupt New York judge, working with the corrupt Attorney General of New York State who ran under the slogan ‘I’ll get Trump’ without knowing me – before knowing anything about my background – just decided I had to pay $355 million in fines based on nothing. “No victims. No damages. “Great financial statements with full disclaimer provisions, only success”

Letitia J. James, Attorney General, speaks at a press conference in New York, on 21st September 2022.

The op/ed stated that James ran for attorney general on a “promise” to target a man she called an ‘illegitimate President’.

The unusual New York law that Ms. James relied on to investigate Mr. Trump and to sue him didn’t require that she prove that he intended to defraud anyone or that anyone had lost money. The Associated Press reported that, of the 12 cases that were brought under this law since 1956 and in which substantial penalties were imposed on the defendants, the case against Donald Trump was the sole instance where there was no alleged victim.

Engoron denied the request of Trump’s attorneys to delay payment for 30 days to provide time for an “orderly process post-judgment.”