Is Trump’s Mega-Fine Unconstitutional?

by Alan M. Dershowitz, GATESTONE  •  February 29, 2024

  • The civil case against Donald Trump was brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a prosecutor who campaigned for her elected office on a pledge to get Trump. By bringing a civil case rather than a criminal prosecution, James denied Trump a jury trial, which he could not have gotten on this kind of case; a requirement of proof behind a reasonable doubt, and other constitutional safeguards. Now she seeks to deny him the protection of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive fines.

The civil case against Donald Trump was brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a prosecutor who campaigned for her elected office on a pledge to get Trump. By bringing a civil case rather than a criminal prosecution, James denied Trump a jury trial, which he could not have gotten on this kind of case; a requirement of proof behind a reasonable doubt, and other constitutional safeguards. Now she seeks to deny him the protection of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive fines. Pictured: James arrives at Trump’s civil trial on October 2, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Arthur Engoron, the New York Supreme Court judge in the real estate case brought against Donald Trump by the state attorney general, has fined Trump and members of his family $464 million. This raises the question of whether the fine – which does not reflect damages actually done – is “excessive” under the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, which reads as follows: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The court also ordered Trump to pay $111,ooo per day in interest, and that he “be barred from serving as an officer or director of a New York corporation or other legal entities in the state for three years, and cannot apply for loans from any financial institution registered in the state for three years…”

In addition, the court fined his two sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, $4 million each, and banned them from serving as executives at the Trump Organization for two years.

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February 29, 2024 | 2 Comments »

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  1. The Communists – er, I mean the Democrats – have nothing but utter contempt for our Constitution- except when they can use it against their enemies.

  2. From what I gather the Law states that “ignorance of the Law is not an excused for breaking it”. If this is the case and those persecuting Trump – despite the Constitution – are ignoring the laws as written…
    Need I say more?