JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Giggling Judge, Gloating AG—VDARE Mugger Letitia James's Trump Show Trial
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

See also: LAWFARE CRISIS INTENSIFIES—Federal Court Judge Frederick J. Scullin Dodges Protecting Our (And Our Writers’) 1A Rights From “Hyperpoliticized” NYAG Letitia James

In my column last night, I talked about Trump in Hialeah, and the possibility of him regaining the Presidency and doing better this time. That, of course assumes that Donald Trump is free to campaign next year and, if he campaigns and is elected, is free to perform the duties of Chief Executive.

Our ruling class seems determined to ensure that neither is the case. A prime exhibit here is the trial currently being conducted in New York City, supposedly over Trump having inflated the value of his properties for financial advantage.

The remarkable thing about this trial is how brazen it is. There is none of the rigor and solemnity of a proper judicial proceeding. The judge—there is no jury, I don’t understand why—the judge is a clown, grinning inanely and wisecracking as court business proceeds.

Frequently present in the public section of the courtroom is New York State Attorney General Letitia James, gloating at the fruition of her four-year vendetta against Trump and his family—fulfilling a promise she made when campaigning for the A-G position in 2018. Quote from the Washington Post, December 19th that year:

During the campaign, James, a Democrat, said she intends to aggressively investigate Trump’s businesses and finances. On the night of her victory, she stood in front of supporters in Brooklyn and all but declared a war against Trump: ”I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings, and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn.” 
New York’s next attorney general targeted slumlords. Now she’s going after Trump, by Kristine Phillips, December 19, 2018

Note that the A-G intended to ”aggressively investigate.” If there had been any civil or criminal complaint against Trump, the Post doesn’t mention it.

This seems to me very shocking. If there’s a complaint, the A-G should of course investigate it; but can she really ”aggressively investigate” where there’s no complaint? On what grounds: That she heard a rumor? Had a dream? Read it in her horoscope?

But I’m just revealing my own naïveté here. Reading further down that Washington Post article, I come to this, quote:

James’s bluntness about Trump is not unheard of, as Democratic and Republican state attorneys general become more partisan and use their office to file lawsuits against the other party, said Paul Nolette, a Marquette University political science professor. Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott (R), for example, often joked that when he was attorney general, he would get up in the morning, sue President Barack Obama and go home.

So a state Attorney General doesn’t even have to pretend to initiate litigation impartially. He can be as partial as he pleases.

So much for the dignity of the law. Letitia James is a particularly repulsive specimen of the politicized state A-G, but she is not at all unique, if the Washington Post can be believed.

Here’s a question for someone with better research skills than I have. We have two instances of Letitia James ”aggressively investigating” people and enterprises against whom, so far as I know, no formal complaint has been lodged. The two instances we have are (1) Donald Trump and his family and businesses, and (2) (Donate to here.)

So, my question: Does Letitia James have any aggressive investigations ongoing against people or organizations that are not active on the political right? Does she have anything ongoing against Black Lives Matter? Bill de Blasio? the Southern Poverty Law Center? Bernie Sanders?

To ask the question is to answer it.

Is there no remedy for this? Are our property and our very liberty held only at the whim of powerful state officials? Sure, Trump will appeal whatever sentence this jeering, capering judge awards him. How long will that take, though? And how much will it have cost?

This is nothing like the law as I have always supposed it to be. Earlier this week, after Trump had vented about the brazen unfairness of the process he is being dragged through, Judge Engoron stopped sniggering for long enough to tell Trump’s lawyers they should control their client, adding that, ”This is not a political rally.”

As Michael Goodwin observed in Tuesday’s New York Post, quote from him:

He’s right—it’s a political trial, not a rally.
Donald Trump’s kangaroo-court fraud trial is the latest display of dirty politics running amok, November 7, 2023


John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.

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