The dictionary defines a kangaroo court in two ways.
The first is “a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted.”
The second is “a court characterized by irresponsible, unauthorized, or irregular status or procedure.”
Both apply in spades to the Manhattan civil fraud trial of Donald John Trump.
If New York’s government were capable of being embarrassed, now would be the time.
The case itself is the scandal.
It’s a strange allegation of fraud where there is no victim.
So what’s the crime?
The charges are based on the assertion that Trump and his family inflated the value of their properties for insurance and loan purposes.
As one real estate lawyer told me, if that’s a crime, two-thirds of New York developers belong in jail.
Ah, but none of the others is named Trump, and so the show trial must go on.
It’s neither a secret nor an excuse that the former president revels in being obnoxious, and he is playing the part to perfection in the lower Manhattan court room.
Scowling, outbursts, insults and name-calling are part of his everyday defense, before, during and after each session.
The outbursts sometimes continue through the night on social media.
These and other assaults on good sense have been part of Trump’s schtick since he first ran for president eight years ago, making it easy to see him as the boy who too often cries wolf.
That’s a grave mistake, because this time there really is a wolf.
The case is that bad.
It stinks to high heaven and is more persecution than prosecution.
Trump’s crime is being a rich, loud-mouth Republican who won the White House over Hillary Clinton.
That was unbearable for many blue state leftists, among them New York Attorney General Letitia James.
She repeatedly called him an “illegitimate president” and, according to Fox News, once told him, “I’m going to give you the same level of respect that you gave to President Obama, and that is absolutely no respect at all.”
She reportedly led a chant saying “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” and participated in a chant of “Lock him up!”
After winning her election, she vowed that “We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.”
It is to her everlasting shame that she kept the promise, including the part about his family by dragging three of his children into the circus.
In addition, her unrestrained gall is part of the extreme anti-business climate driving the city and state into the ditch.
Bringing the case after her public attacks and threats represent a clear abuse of office that state courts should have blocked.
It’s an abuse she reinforces with her unusual and unprofessional appearances in the courtroom and her mini press conferences at the end of the day.
Monday she told reporters Trump’s testimony was full of “distractions” and “insults” and added the “documentary evidence” shows he “falsely inflated his assets to basically enrich himself and his family.”
The shame of NY
With her conduct, James has put New York’s criminal justice system itself on trial.
Even before the final outcome, the state is obviously guilty of producing a sham spectacle.
From the start, the case has reinforced a suspicion it is rigged.
Beyond James’ conflict of interest, it features a bizarre process where there is no jury and the judge, Arthur F. Engoron, quickly ruled that Trump and the other defendants were guilty, creating the impression of verdict first, trial second.
The same judge now presides over the penalty phase, and also gets to decide the punishment, which could be dramatic.
Trump could be stripped of his business certificates and a receiver appointed to run the company and even sell some of the world-famous properties.
They include Trump Tower, 40 Wall St., Trump Park Avenue and country clubs in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
Engoron, who initially seemed intimidated by the attention, now seems to enjoy the spotlight and relishes trading insults with Trump and his lawyers.
“No speeches,” he scolded the former president Monday as Trump vented about the unfairness.
Later, the judge told Trump’s lawyers to “control your client,” adding “This is not a political rally.”
He’s right — it’s a political trial, not a rally.
Engoron has fined Trump $15,000 for twice violating an odd gag order that said the former president could not comment publicly on the judge’s court clerk and other staff.
The case, one of five brought against Trump by state and federal prosecutors, all Democrats, is the first to reach the trial stage and the political collisions only get worse from here.
In fact, Trump’s testimony came on the same day a New York Times/Siena poll showed him with significant leads over President Biden in five of six battleground states for next year’s election.
Biden won all six states in 2020.
The overlap of trials with party primaries and the general election campaign next year will add even more credibility to Trump’s claim that the prosecutors are engaged in “election interference.”
Polls show he’s not alone in believing that, with one result being the mountain of charges has actually boosted Trump’s support among Republicans and some independents.
The cases helped him build a commanding advantage over his GOP opponents, leading the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal to ask if Trump will be “indicted into office?”
Of course, Biden’s rampant failures and declining faculties, physical and mental, are also key to Trump’s rise.
But that’s all the more reason why the prosecutors face the high burden of proving to voters the cases do not aim to tip the election in Biden’s favor.
New York’s attorney general has already failed that test.
Hamas vic ID agony
Trying to identify the Israelis who were savagely murdered, dismembered, blown up and burned by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 is proving so difficult that archeologists have been summoned to help.
“The archeological methods employed at ancient sites are similar to the methods applied here,” the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.
“But it is one thing to expose 2,000-year-old destruction remains, and quite another thing — heart-rending and unfathomable — to carry out the present task searching for evidence of our sisters and brothers.”
Easy test for Dems
Democrats in the House have a chance Wednesday to get some of the anti-Israel stench off their party.
It comes via a censure vote against Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the extremist Michigan Dem accused of “promoting false narratives regarding the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.”
The censure, which carries only a stigma, ought to be an easy vote because Tlaib, the first Palestinian woman to serve in Congress, is an open antisemite who seems to hate America as much as she hates Israel.