In court over the past week, former President Donald Trump and others in his orbit have been forced to confront their worst enemy: reality. And the results have been devastating for them.
On multiple occasions, we’ve seen Trump and his followers forced to face unvarnished and legally inconvenient truths about their conduct, marking both a departure from the alternate realities they established for themselves and their arrival in the real world — with all its legal ramifications.
Trump’s legal woes are clearest of them all, and his ego has taken a vicious beating in court recently. Wednesday was especially tough.
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil court filing on Wednesday alleged years of fraud, further eroding Trump’s portrayal of himself and his oldest children as elite and earnest businesspeople.
And things have been just as bleak when you consider his classified documents scandal.
Also on Wednesday, a federal appeals court overturned a judge’s absurd decision to bar investigators from looking at classified documents seized from Trump’s Florida estate, keeping the wheels turning on a criminal investigation that could land the former president or members of his inner circle in hot water … if not prison.
Trump’s ploys to stave off a criminal investigation, including his move to have a special master pore through the documents to see whether Trump could claim privilege over them, have been significantly weakened in the past week. Because these attempts are rooted in Trump’s dubious claims that he retained president-level power (like executive privilege) after leaving the White House, it’s safe to assume he has been brought down to size a bit. The emperor has lost his clothes.
But Trump isn’t the only one in the MAGA movement who has had their bubble burst in court.
Earlier this week, a judge tossed out right-wing conspiracy theorist and TV salesman Mike Lindell’s effort to dismiss a lawsuit against him filed by Smartmatic, an election technology company that Lindell claimed was involved in a plot to steal the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden. Lindell has continued to push baseless election lies ever since Trump lost to Biden. But mounting civil cases against him stemming from his election claims — along with the FBI seizing his phone as part of a criminal investigation into alleged election meddling in Colorado — inject a dose of reality into the fictitious world in which he and fellow Trumpists are saviors of democracy.
And on Monday, a court filing in Georgia related to a case of alleged election meddling revealed that a county Republican official might have lied about her role in allowing a Trump-allied firm to access voter data from the 2020 presidential election.
That official, Cathy Latham, was the GOP chair of Georgia’s Coffee County and is known for submitting fake electoral votes to Congress that falsely declared Trump the winner of the 2020 election. Latham has claimed she wasn’t “personally involved” in giving the firm access to the voter data, but newly released footage reportedly shows that she spent hours with operatives from the firm inside an area of the Coffee County elections office that was restricted to authorized officials. An attorney for Latham has denied any wrongdoing that day.
As I’ve written previously, the Latham revelations seem like a very rich turn of events, given that Trump supporters like herself contended it was Democrats who were caught on camera meddling in the 2020 election in Georgia.
Team Trump has been allowed to create fantastical narratives like these, depicting themselves as protagonists, over much of the past couple of years. This has been due in large part to the seeming stagnation of cases involving them. But those cases are developing now, and the picture we see shows the MAGA movement in a host of legal trouble.