Justice or Just Deserts? Trump, Cosby and Georgia Cases Show Rising Cost of Political Litigation, by Jonathan Turley

Political litigation is almost a synonym for unjust litigation. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

Below is my column in the Hill on a series of cases that appear propelled by political rather than legal considerations.  The costs to the legal system, the public, or victims in such cases are often overlooked but they are considerable.

Here is the column:

“It’s not about politics.” New York prosecutor Carey Dunne’s words were repeated like a mantra after this week’s indictment of the Trump Organization and its financial chief, Allen Weisselberg. The problem is that it is manifestly untrue.

In fairness to Dunne, he is prosecuting a case given to him by his superiors. Nor is he alone in pursuing a case driven more by political than legal considerations. From the prosecution of Bill Cosby to a federal lawsuit against Georgia, courts are dealing with cases where government lawyers repeat the same implausible claims with the same unconvincing results. The political gains from these cases ignore the real costs borne by others.

The Weisselberg indictment

Dunne’s statement was made after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James paraded triumphantly in front of hundreds of cameras with a handcuffed Weisselberg in their wake. The excitement — if not euphoria — expressed by many in the media was barely containable.

Weisselberg is charged with failing to pay taxes on executive perks, including cars, apartments and holiday gift accounts; prosecutors added up every possible perk and came up with roughly $1.7 million in taxable benefits. There is no question that such tax violations can be charged criminally; however, if they prosecuted all untaxed executive perks, half of Manhattan would be frog-marched to the hoosegow. That does not make Weisselberg a Mother Teresa figure, but neither does it make him John Gotti.

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