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In Trump’s ‘Special Master’ Appeal 2 of 3 Judges Are Ones He Appointed – and Both Previously Ruled Against Him

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Last month a three-judge panel overruled a federal judge Donald Trump not only appointed to the bench but hand-picked to hear his case surrounding the Dept. of Justice executing a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence and retrieving thousands of White House items and documents, including hundreds of classified and top secret documents.

Trump has appealed their ruling, and on Tuesday a three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals was selected to hear his case.

Two of the three he appointed. Both have previously ruled against him.

READ MORE: Far Right J6 Rioter Who Attacked Pelosi’s Office ‘Surprised’ as Judge Sends Her Directly to Jail After Verdict: Report

The judges, according to Politico’s Josh Gerstein, are William Pryor Jr. (Bush 43 appointee), Britt Grant (Trump appointee), and Andrew Brasher (Trump appointee.).

“BUT,” Gerstein stresses, “Grant & Brasher joined in earlier ruling against him on MAL,” referring to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago case against the United States of America in which he both claims he is the rightful owner of the documents because they are personal, and he declassified them all. (Both claims cannot be true.)

As The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell puts it, “Really unfortunate for Trump to have drawn 2/3 judges for oral arguments before 11th Circuit today who ruled that Cannon ‘abused her discretion’ in granting him a special master.”

Back in September a three-judge 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel temporarily blocked Judge Aileen Cannon’s ruling barring the Dept. of Justice from using about 100 classified documents. Trump had requested the court block DOJ from accessing those documents.

READ MORE: The GOP Ran on Gas and Grocery Prices. Their Top Priority After Taking the House? Hunter Biden’s Laptop.

“We cannot discern why plaintiff [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings,” the three-judge panel said, as Bloomberg News had reported.

As Bloomberg’s Zoe Tillman reports, in today’s trial, which begins at 2 PM ET, DOJ will argue “to free thousands of documents seized from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate from a review that’s kept them out of investigators’ hands for months.”

For those interested, oral arguments can be heard via the 11th Circuit’s government website, here.

Image via Shutterstock

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CRIME

‘Next Chapter?’ Manhattan DA Signals Trump Himself Might Finally Land Under Indictment

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Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg may finally have changed his mind about indicting former president Donald Trump.

The recent conviction of the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg gave a glimpse of evidence that could tie the ex-president directly to the tax fraud scheme, such as a memo he signed approving chief operating officer Matthew Calamari’s illegal request to reduce his taxed salary to cover the cost of his untaxed corporate apartment, reported The Daily Beast.

“We now move on to the next chapter,” Bragg said last week after the company was ordered to pay $1.6 million in penalties for tax fraud.

Trump already asserted under oath in another case in 2021 that he personally oversaw Calimari’s compensation, and prosecutors have checks he signed to cover tuition at a private school for Weisselberg’s grandchildren, whose mother Jennifer Weisselberg has repeatedly told investigators she personally heard Trump discuss the scheme to artificially lower taxed salaries for his executives.

“This case has tentacles,” said Duncan Levin, a former prosecutor who now represents Jennifer Weisselberg and has been communicating with investigators.

The district attorney’s office declined to comment on what Bragg meant about another chapter, but former prosecutors from that office say their experience leads them to believe prosecutors will go after Trump.

“For people who want a certain outcome — to go after Trump — it gives hope,” said Catherine A. Christian, a former assistant district attorney who investigated financial fraud. “They’re going to be thorough. I’m doubtful he would have said ‘next chapter’ if they weren’t looking.”

RELATED: ‘I’ll grab you’: How Alex Jones and Ali Alexander were tapped to lead a march from the Ellipse to the Capitol

“It happens all the time with large, complex investigations,” she added.

Prosecutors had hoped to flip Weisselberg or company controller Jeffrey McConney, who was nearly labeled a hostile witness during the Trump Organization trial, but ultimately were unable to get their full cooperation.

“They didn’t flip, and they failed,” said former Manhattan prosecutor Jeff Chabrowe. “They tried to do everything they could, and in the end, they got a truncated thing here where they went after the organization and Weisselberg, and there’s this fine that’s pretty weak.”

 

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‘Final Nail in His Coffin’: Trump’s Taxes Contain ‘Powerful Evidence of Criminal Tax Evasion’

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In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime investigative journalist and Donald Trump biographer David Cay Johnston made the case that there is enough evidence of financial fraud in the former president’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020 to indict and prosecute him.

At issue, he noted, are deductions taken for Trump companies — some of which may never have existed.

According to Johnston, the author of “The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family,” he found “powerful evidence of criminal tax evasion,” after reviewing the documents after they were released on Friday morning to the public after years of obstruction from Trump.

“Consider a rich business owner who fabricates deductions but who would still owe zero tax in the audited year even if those deductions were denied. That means an audit that will not generate any tax revenue. That’s also what Trump apparently did in 26 sole proprietor, or Schedule C, filings in the six years of released tax returns,” he wrote before adding, “Trump also turned a profit off a portion of the tax system, making $2.8 million profit off the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT.”

As for those 26 Trump businesses that may or may not exist, Johnston suggested that investigators dig deeper into how the former president used them to get out of paying taxes in the years involved.

RELATED: Tax expert highlights a mysterious red flag in Trump tax returns

“Most glaring in the tax returns is that they include 26 Trump businesses—or imaginary businesses—with zero revenue and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax deductions for expenses,” he pointed out while noting they should be of interest to New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Unless Trump can produce records showing the expenses are real and meet other standards to be deductible, that’s fraud. That Trump did it 26 times as a candidate and as president is powerful evidence that he qualifies for prosecution by the federal government and New York State for criminal tax fraud,” he wrote before adding the results could lead to a “slam dunk” prosecution.

You can read more here.

Image: Evan El Amin/Shutterstock

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Watch: J6 Committee Votes to Send Four Criminal Referrals Against Donald Trump to DOJ

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The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has voted to send four criminal referrals to the Dept. of Justice, even more than previously expected.

The Committee’s referral says Donald Trump is guilty of: Obstruction of an official proceeding; Conspiracy to defraud the United States; Conspiracy to make a false statement; Inciting, assisting or aiding/comforting an insurrection, as reported by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Calling the move “a major escalation for a congressional investigation that is the most significant in a generation,” The New York Times reports this is “the first time in American history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution,” and “is the coda to the committee’s intense 18-month investigation into Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election that culminated in a violent mob of the former president’s supporters laying siege to the Capitol.”

READ MORE: ‘Premeditated’: J6 Committee Reveals Trump ‘Planned to Declare Victory’ Regardless of Outcome

Watch this historic moment below or at this link.

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