According to two legal experts with experience in civil trials in the Bronx, Donald Trump is headed down a rough -- and likely expensive path -- if a jury rules against him in a case involving protesters at Trump Tower when he began his 2016 presidential campaign.
On Monday, as a Manhattan jury begins hearing a case alleging the Trump organization engaged in criminal tax fraud, jury selection in the Bronx will begin in the case of Efrain Galicia, who claims Trump's security guards roughed him up outside Trump Tower in 2015, at the behest of the now-former president.
As the Guardian's Victoria Bekiempis is reporting, "For years, prosecutors across the US have beaten their chests about holding Trump accountable, but now it is a simple assault case out of the Bronx – not one of their many investigations – that is actually going to trial. And if the jury in this case does what Bronx juries tend to do, Trump might feel significant consequences, legal veterans tell the Guardian."
According to Randolph McLaughlin, Pace University law school professor, Bronx juries love sticking it to the rich and there is not a lot of love in the borough for the former president.
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“I’m a civil rights lawyer. If I can get a case into the Bronx, I’ll move heaven and earth. Bronx juries, they engage in Robinhood-ism. They take from the rich and give to the rest of us – their verdicts are always generally right at the ceiling,” he explained. "There’s no limit in the Bronx. They love to give money to the people. Donald Trump, as much as he is loved in certain corners of the country, he is not loved in the Bronx.”
Working against the former president is the fact that he won't appear in court before the jury to testify -- and will only appear in a taped deposition -- which will likely come back to haunt him.
“If jurors can take time out of their busy days to sit in judgment, you can’t take time out of your busy day?” McLaughlin told Bekiempis who added that the jury may ignore the judge's instructions, with McLaughlin elaborating, “I don’t think it’s going to carry much weight. Jurors, inside themselves, are going to resent the fact. Who does he think he is? He’s not going to show up to court?”
Criminal defense attorney Ron Kuby agreed.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: the Bronx civil court is the greatest instrument of wealth redistribution since the Red Army,” he stated. "A Bronx jury is going to view this case with a fair eye and if they find that the defendant is liable, they are going to award massive sums.”
“While the compensatory damages are not great in the standard of major lawsuits – this isn’t Sandy Hook or Abner Louima, this is not a neurologist who had his wrist broken and can’t operate – the potential punitive damages are very substantial, and Trump will be personally liable for those as well as the individual defendants,” Kuby added.
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