I’ll say one thing about waking up in America each day — it is not dull. We are forty days out from a presidential election and the niece of the incumbent candidate for reelection, Donald Trump, just sued him, and his siblings, for cheating her out of her inheritance. The first line of her lawsuit reads, “fraud was not just the family business it was a way of life.” So we have seen. New York Times:
The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, accused Mr. Trump, his sister Maryanne Trump Barry and their brother Robert Trump, who died in August, of fraud and civil conspiracy. It seeks to recover the millions of dollars Ms. Trump claims to have lost.
In its first sentence, the lawsuit says that, for the Trumps, “fraud was not just the family business — it was a way of life.” Beginning in the 1980s, the suit contends, the president and his siblings took control of the New York City real estate empire their father, Fred Trump Sr., had built and “exploited it to enrich themselves” to the detriment of everyone around them.
Ms. Trump, 55, claims to be one of her family’s victims. Her suit describes a plot against her, broken cinematically into three separate acts: “The Grift,” “The Devaluing” and “The Squeeze-Out.”
It recounts a narrative that began in 1981, when Ms. Trump’s father, Fred Trump Jr., unexpectedly died, leaving her, at age 16, with a valuable minority stake in the family empire. The story ends nearly 40 years later, when Ms. Trump says she discovered, with the help of journalists from The New York Times, that President Trump and his siblings “used their position of power to con her into signing her interests away.”
My God. The lawsuit sounds like the script to that wonderful old Billy Wilder comedy, “The Fortune Cookie” starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. If you never saw that, it’s the story of an ambulance chasing shyster, played by Matthau, who convinces his brother-in-law, Lemmon, to fake a personal injury accident and defraud the insurance company, i.e., fraud and civil conspiracy. Each act is entitled similarly, “The Set Up,” “The Con” and so forth. It’s black comedy at its finest, as is the Trump administration.
What’s next in this farce, Bill Barr coming forward to play Trump’s personal defense attorney — again?