'Fact checkers' gaslight: claim meme contrasting Trump persecution, student loan forgiveness 'misrepresents' the fraud case

AFP Fact check meme by is licensed under

WASHINGTON, DC-  Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. 

Those words are from the Eight Amendment to the United States Constitution. It's a shame that Arthur Engoron, the partisan judge overseeing the civil 'fraud' case in New York, seems to have forgotten them. Equally disappointing is the apparent bias of AFP Fact Check, aka Agence France-Presse, a self-proclaimed 'fact-checking' website. 

In the leadup to the 2024 general election, those on the political right widely expect big tech companies such as Google, Fakebook, Instagram, and others to silence right-leaning views, much as they did in 2020. The same holds for “fact-checking” websites. 

There is a meme circulating on social media that AFP takes issue with. The site claims it 'misrepresents' the verdict in the New York civil fraud case, in which former President Trump was accused of a practice that many engage in–inflating the value of his real estate holdings to secure a better loan rate. This seems like a disproportionate response to a standard business practice. 

When Donald Trump takes out a loan and pays it back with interest, it’s a crime. But when you take out a student loan and don’t pay it back, then Biden forgives the loan steals money from the taxpayers to pay it back, it’s not a crime.

The “fact check” reads:

Social media users claim former US president Donald Trump faced criminal charges for simply taking out a loan and paying it back. This is false; the posts misrepresent a New York civil fraud case in which a judge ruled the Republican presidential candidate and his company had unlawfully inflated his wealth and manipulated the value of properties to obtain favorable bank loans or insurance terms. 

For anyone following the case, it was clear that New York Attorney General Letitia James, who herself has seemed to ride her office to a substantial fortune, would do anything to get the former president. In fact, James had promised to “get Trump” as part of her campaign for New York AG. 

According to the New York Post, the statute James used to prosecute Trump has been on the book for decades and was described  as “something of an anomaly in not requiring an actual victim or loss to justify disgorgement of fines.” In Trump’s case, nobody was defrauded, and the banks were paid off. The New York Times, hardly a right-leaning paper, said it could not find a single case in history where the law was used against an individual or company that had not committed an underlying criminal offense, gone bankrupt, or left financial victims. 

In an opinion piece in the New York Post, Georgetown law professor Jonathan Turley admonished Engoron’s verdict. 

“He [Engoron] disgorged hundreds of millions in a case where not one dollar was lost by anyone. Indeed, the ‘victims’ wanted to get more business from Trump and are now being prevented from doing so by Engoron.” 

That referred to Engoron’s decision to ban the former president and his companies from doing business in New York City for three years. Engoron also levied a gargantuan $455 million in fines and interest against the former president, an unprecedented and draconian penalty for a case in which there were no victims. 

To make matters worse, Engoron, who famously (or not) mugged for the cameras during one portion of the trial, knew that New York law would require the former president to deposit the total amount of the fine, including interest in a court account. 

Even though Trump is a billionaire, no billionaire on earth has that amount of cash readily available. Finding a bonding company to cover that amount would also prove challenging. Fortunately, another court found Engoron’s fine absurd and reduced it to an amount that Trump could cover. 

As cited above, the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution expressly prohibits excessive fines, which Engoron either wasn’t aware of or simply did not care about. After all, it was clear this particular case wasn’t about justice…it was about getting Trump, as James had promised. 

Some have also claimed that James’ prosecution of Trump violates the Constitutional provision under Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3, which prohibits “Bills of Attainder” or the use of legislation to target an individual. Of course, these are all avenues of appeal for President Trump. 

Engoron’s ruling raised eyebrows in several areas, primarily his valuation of Trump’s Mar a Lago property in West Palm Beach, Florida. According to Engoron's ruling, he used the assessment value as determined by the Palm Beach County assessor, who appraised the property's market value at between $18 million and $27.6 million. 

The former president, meanwhile, valued the property at between $426.5 million and $612 million, which Engoron claimed was “an overvaluation of at least 2,300% compared to the assessor’s appraisal.” 

However, according to CNN (of all outlets), some real estate experts said Engoron’s use of the assessor’s valuation was subjective. 

“Appraisal values and market values are just not the same thing. It’s a well-known fact,” said Eli Beracha, chair of the School of Real Estate at Florida International University. “That’s especially true for properties that are unique. And it’s very easy to argue this is a unique property.” 

Another expert, who Engoron is not, said an assessor’s valuation isn’t a consideration when valuing a property. 

“He wouldn’t make a very good realtor,” said Dina Goldentayer, executive director of sales at Douglas Ellman in South Florida, of Engoron. “It’s so widely known that it’s not an accurate determination of market value.

“If there is a ranking as to what would have the lowest valuation, it’s the tax assessor’s office, followed by Zillow, and then the realtor’s valuation is the highest,” she continued. 

Goldentayer added that Mar-a-Lago is “unique” and shouldn’t be valued in the same vein as other properties. 

“Mar-a-Lago is such a trophy asset. It’s in a completely different league of its own,” she said. 

She noted that to value Mar-a-Lago, she would hire three independent appraisers and take a blended average of their valuations, not a tax appraiser’s valuation. 

In other words, the value of a property is subjective. 

The so-called “fact check” conducted by AFP is a joke. It only quotes James and Engoron in disputing the validity of the claim that the former president had not committed a crime. In fact, the case was a civil fraud case, not a criminal fraud case. Therefore, it is correct that President Trump did not commit a crime. 

In her “fact check,” the writer, Natalie Wade, self-owns herself with the following statement:

“Many of his [Trump’s] supporters have echoed that narrative online, insinuating the case was part of a political scheme devised by Democrats.” 

Letitia James–Democrat

Judge Arthur Engron–Appointed by a Democrat

New York City–overwhelmingly populated by Democrats

On the night she won her election for NY AG, James said:

“I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn.” 

During her campaign, "Tish" James accused President Trump of being an “illegitimate president” (now called election denial by Democrats) and said she would use “every legal avenue” to investigate him.

“Insinuating the case was part of a political scheme devised by Democrats?” Ms. Wade might want to check Google; Letitia James’ inflammatory statements are readily available. Clearly, the claim in the meme that the fraud case was a “political scheme” is evident to anyone with more than a couple of brain cells. Ms. Wade apparently falls far short of that amount. 

The meme notes that, in defiance of a Supreme Court decision, Joe Biden continues to unilaterally forgive student loans. While the institutions that lent the money are made whole (by the federal government), US taxpayers are being defrauded and forced to pay loans taken out by college students they promised to repay. If anyone is in violation of the law, it’s Joe Biden. That is a reasonable argument to make. 

The AFP “fact check” is nothing but gaslighting by a leftist rag that social media companies employ to throttle opinions that go against the Democrat Party narrative and have made it their life mission to attempt to kneecap the former president. 

Law Enforcement Today will continue to expose these leftist fact-checkers and fact check them right back. 

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It is actually IMPOSSIBLE to inflate the value of property to secure favorable rates. The lenders NEVER accept the values stated by the borrowers. They do their own appraisals. Even the alleged victim of the so called fraud actually testified to this during the so called trial.

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