NY probe found potential crimes. Why isn’t Trump in cuffs?

NY probe found potential crimes. Why isn’t Trump in cuffs?
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New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference on Sept. 21, 2022, in New York. (AP)
NY probe found potential crimes. Why isn’t Trump in cuffs?
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Pages from the court filing by New York state attorney general accusing former President Donald Trump and three of his adult children of padding his net worth by billions of dollars. (AP)
Pages from the court filing by New York state attorney general accusing former President Donald Trump and three of his adult children of padding his net worth by billions of dollars. (AP)
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Updated 23 September 2022

NY probe found potential crimes. Why isn’t Trump in cuffs?

NY probe found potential crimes. Why isn’t Trump in cuffs?
  • In New York, the state attorney general’s office is only allowed to prosecute a limited range of offenses on its own, like bid rigging and payroll violations

NEW YORK: New York’s attorney general says her three-year investigation of former President Donald Trump uncovered potential crimes in the way he ran his real estate empire, including allegations of bank and insurance fraud.
So why isn’t Trump being prosecuted?
Attorney General Letitia James didn’t seek to slap handcuffs on the Republican this week, as some of his critics hoped. Instead, she announced a civil lawsuit seeking $250 million and his permanent banishment from doing business in the state.
Like many things involving the law and Trump, the reasons James, a Democrat, opted for a lawsuit rather than a prosecution are complicated.
For one, even if she did want to prosecute Trump, she doesn’t have jurisdiction under state law to bring a criminal case against him or any of the lawsuit’s other defendants, including the Trump Organization and his three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump.
In New York, the state attorney general’s office is only allowed to prosecute a limited range of offenses on its own, like bid rigging and payroll violations.
Otherwise, the office must partner with a county district attorney on a prosecution — as James’ office did with the Manhattan district attorney’s office in a case against Trump’s longtime finance chief — or obtain what’s known as a criminal referral from the governor or a state agency that has jurisdiction over the alleged wrongdoing.
Even then, mounting a criminal fraud case is far more challenging than a civil lawsuit.
In a criminal case, prosecutors would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump intended to commit a crime. In the lawsuit — if it goes to trial — jurors would only need to be persuaded it was more likely than not that wrongdoing occurred.
Filing a civil lawsuit while letting others sort out potential criminal violations is a sound strategy, legal experts said, allowing James to seek remedies other than prison time.
It allows the attorney general to avoid the kind of internal debate about criminal charges that fractured the Manhattan district attorney’s parallel investigation into Trump earlier this year.
No former US president has ever been charged with a crime.
The prospect of Trump, 76, behind bars as a result of a criminal prosecution could give juries pause, make judges more careful and make winning more difficult, said University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias.
“Even for Trump, people don’t like him, but do they want to put him away?” Tobias said. “What would it take? What kind of punishment would be appropriate? So it’s just all around more difficult.”
A civil case, given its lower burden of proof standard, is “a lot easier to assemble ... and probably win,” Tobias said.
Trump, a Republican who’s laying the groundwork for another presidential run in 2024, has derided James as “a fraud who campaigned on a ‘get Trump’ platform.’”
In an interview Wednesday night with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, Trump suggested that his company had protected itself against possible fraud allegations by warning banks and potential business partners not to trust the information in its financial disclosures.
“We have a disclaimer right on the front,” Trump said. “’You’re at your own risk.’ ... ‘Be careful because it may not be accurate. It may be way off.’ ... ‘Get your own people. Use your own appraisers. Use your own lawyers. Don’t rely on us.’”
James said at a news conference Wednesday that her office was referring its findings to the US attorney’s office in Manhattan and the Internal Revenue Service, and would share evidence of possible state law violations with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, if requested.
The US attorney’s office in Manhattan said it was aware of James’ referral of potential criminal violations, but otherwise declined comment. The Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division said it “doesn’t confirm the existence of investigations until court documents are publicly available.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said his probe of Trump was “active and ongoing.”
The former prosecutor who had been leading Bragg’s investigation, Mark Pomerantz, resigned in February because he felt the office should be moving more quickly to bring criminal charges against Trump.
In a resignation letter, Pomerantz wrote that he believes the former president is “guilty of numerous felony violations.”
He said he had told Bragg there was “evidence sufficient to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt” of many of the same allegations that now appear in James’ lawsuit — including that Trump falsified financial statements to secure loans and burnish his image as a wealthy businessman.
If there’s no settlement agreement, James’ lawsuit against Trump could take years to play out and might not be resolved before the 2024 presidential election.
A fraud lawsuit James filed against the National Rifle Association recently entered its third year, slowed by legal wrangling and the powerful gun advocacy group’s attempts to get the case thrown out. No trial date has been set.
Drawn out legal proceedings could hurt Trump’s business by making lenders and potential partners reluctant to cut deals. But, if history is any guide, it’s not likely to be a crushing blow. Against the odds, and despite no shortage of legal battles in recent years, the company has been able to get new loans and raise money.
In February, the Trump Organization got a $100 million from a California bank to refinance commercial and retail space in its Trump Tower headquarters. That deal was struck just three days after Trump’s long-time accountants, Mazurs, disavowed a decade of financial statements it had helped prepare — a serious blow to his business reputation.
That big loan also came after the Trump Organization had already been indicted on fraud charges by the Manhattan district attorney’s office for allegedly helping executives evade taxes. That case is scheduled to go to trial next month.
Another recent victory for Trump as his legal troubles mount: Selling his Washington D.C. hotel for $375 million, far more than expected.
Several lending experts said the new loan show why much of Trump’s business is insulated from his political and legal storms: What matters most in real estate is the cash thrown off by rent and the collateral of the buildings — not the reputation of the owner.
 


Russia’s Federation Council ratifies annexation of four Ukrainian regions

Russia’s Federation Council ratifies annexation of four Ukrainian regions
Updated 04 October 2022

Russia’s Federation Council ratifies annexation of four Ukrainian regions

Russia’s Federation Council ratifies annexation of four Ukrainian regions
  • Russian Federation Council unanimously ratified legislation to annex Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia

MOSCOW: The upper house of Russia’s parliament voted on Tuesday to approve the incorporation of four Ukrainian regions into Russia, as Moscow sets about formally annexing territory it sized from Kyiv during its seven-month conflict.
In a session on Tuesday, the Federation Council unanimously ratified legislation to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, following a similar vote in the State Duma, Russia’s lower house, yesterday.
The documents now pass back to the Kremlin for President Vladimir Putin’s final signature to complete the process of formally annexing the four regions, representing around 18 percent of Ukraine’s internationally-recognized territory.
Russia declared the annexations after holding what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine. Western governments and Kyiv said the votes breached international law and were coercive and non-representative.

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Indonesia stadium disaster death toll rises to 131

Indonesia stadium disaster death toll rises to 131
Updated 04 October 2022

Indonesia stadium disaster death toll rises to 131

Indonesia stadium disaster death toll rises to 131

MALANG, Indonesia: The death toll from an Indonesian football riot that turned into a stampede rose by six to 131 on Tuesday, a local health official said.
The six additional victims who succumbed to their injuries “have been sent home to their families,” said Wiyanto Wijoyo, head of the health agency in Malang Regency where the tragedy took place.
The police chief in Indonesia’s East Java province where a stadium tragedy left 131 dead at the weekend apologized Tuesday for the disaster.
“As the regional police chief, I am concerned, saddened and at the same time I am sorry for the shortcomings in the security process,” Nico Afinta told a press conference in the city of Malang.


Prison chief killed in Indian Kashmir, militants claim responsibility

Prison chief killed in Indian Kashmir, militants claim responsibility
Updated 04 October 2022

Prison chief killed in Indian Kashmir, militants claim responsibility

Prison chief killed in Indian Kashmir, militants claim responsibility
  • Body of Hemant Kumar Lohia was found at his home on Monday night in the Jammu region
  • Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between mostly Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan which both claim it in full

SRINAGAR: The chief of the prison service in Indian Kashmir has been murdered, police said on Tuesday, as the powerful interior minister visited the disputed Himalayan region that has been riven by a decades-long insurgency.
The body of Hemant Kumar Lohia, 57, the region’s director general of prisons, was found at his home on Monday night in the Jammu region, police said.
Police said a household helper was the main suspect but an Islamist militant group said it had targeted and killed Lohia.
Muslim-majority Kashmir is divided between mostly Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan which both claim it in full.
Separatist Muslim groups have fought against Indian security forces in its part of Kashmir since the late 1980s.
Senior police officer Mukesh Singh said Lohia’s throat had been cut and his body bore burns. The initial investigation suggested it was not a “terror act” but police were investigating, he said.
The People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF), a militant group that emerged after India’s government reorganized its only Muslim-majority state into two federally administered territories in 2019, said it had assassinated Lohia.
Police have blamed groups like the PAFF for targeted killing but militants have not killed any security official of Lohia’s seniority in recent years.
“This is just a beginning of such high profile operations,” the PAFF said in a statement on social media, adding that the killing were a “small gift” to Home Minister Amit Shah, who arrived in Kashmir on Monday on a three-day visit.
Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the PAFF statement.


North Korea fires mid-range ballistic missile that flies over Japan

North Korea fires mid-range ballistic missile that flies over Japan
Updated 04 October 2022

North Korea fires mid-range ballistic missile that flies over Japan

North Korea fires mid-range ballistic missile that flies over Japan
  • The last time North Korea fired a missile over Japan was reportedly in 2017
  • Tokyo also confirmed the launch of a suspected ballistic missile by Pyongyang

SEOUL: North Korea fired a mid-range ballistic missile Tuesday which flew over Japan, Seoul and Tokyo said, a significant escalation as Pyongyang ramps up its record-breaking weapons-testing blitz.
The last time North Korea fired a missile over Japan was reportedly in 2017, at the height of a period of “fire and fury” when Pyongyang’s leader Kim Jong Un traded insults with then-US president Donald Trump.
South Korea’s military said it had “detected one suspected medium-range ballistic missile that was launched from Mupyong-ri area of Jagang Province at around 7:23 am (22:23 GMT) today and passed over Japan in the eastern direction.”
In a statement, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the military was “maintaining a full readiness posture and closely cooperating with the United States while strengthening surveillance and vigilance.”
Tokyo also confirmed the launch of a suspected ballistic missile by Pyongyang, activating the country’s missile alert warning system and issuing evacuation warnings.
“A ballistic missile is believed to have passed over our country and fallen in the Pacific Ocean. This is an act of violence following recent repeated launches of ballistic missiles. We strongly condemn this,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.
With talks long-stalled, nuclear-armed North Korea has doubled down on Kim’s military modernization plans this year, testing a string of banned weaponry, including an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) for the first time since 2017.
Last week, Pyongyang fired short-range ballistic missiles on four occasions, including just hours after US Vice President Kamala Harris flew out of Seoul.
The latest bout of intense weapons testing by Pyongyang comes as Seoul, Tokyo and Washington ramp up joint military drills to counter growing threats from the North.
South Korea, Japan and the United States staged anti-submarine drills Friday — the first in five years — just days after Washington and Seoul’s navies conducted large-scale exercises in waters off the peninsula.
Such drills infuriate North Korea, which sees them as rehearsals for an invasion.
Harris toured the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula while on a trip that aimed to underscore her country’s “ironclad” commitment to South Korea’s defense against the North.
Washington has stationed about 28,500 troops in South Korea to help protect it from the North.
“If Pyongyang has fired a missile over Japan, that would represent a significant escalation over its recent provocations,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
“Pyongyang is still in the middle of a provocation and testing cycle,” he said.
“The Kim regime is developing weapons such as tactical nuclear warheads and submarine-launched ballistic missiles as part of a long-term strategy to outrun South Korea in an arms race and drive wedges among US allies,” he added.
South Korean and US officials have also been warning for months that Kim was preparing to conduct another nuclear test.
The officials said they believed this could happen soon after China’s upcoming party congress on October 16.
North Korea, which is under multiple UN sanctions for its weapons programs, typically seeks to maximize the geopolitical impact of its tests with careful timing.
The isolated country has tested nuclear weapons six times since 2006, most recently in 2017.


King Charles III, Queen Consort host members of UK’s South Asian community in recognition of contributions

King Charles III, Queen Consort host members of UK’s South Asian community in recognition of contributions
Updated 03 October 2022

King Charles III, Queen Consort host members of UK’s South Asian community in recognition of contributions

King Charles III, Queen Consort host members of UK’s South Asian community in recognition of contributions
  • The king has been involved with British Asian communities for many years through his work with the British Asian Trust
  • He founded the trust in 2007 with a group of British Asian business leaders

LONDON: King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, hosted guests of South Asian heritage in Edinburgh on Monday in recognition of their contributions to British society.

The royals welcomed around 300 people at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh to recognise the contribution that South Asian communities in the UK have made to the National Health Service, arts, media, education, business and the armed forces.

The king has been involved with British Asian communities for many years through his work with the British Asian Trust which he founded in 2007 with a group of British Asian business leaders.

The royal couple are visiting Scotland as part of their first joint public engagement since the end of the royal mourning period to remember Queen Elizabeth II.

They were visiting to formally give city status to Dunfermline, the birthplace of King Charles I.

Dunfermline was among eight towns that won city status as part of Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year to mark Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne.