Plaintiff in chief A portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 lawsuits

James D. Zirin

Book - 2019

Donald Trump's political worldview was molded in the courtroom. He sees law not as a system of rules to be obeyed and ethical ideals to be respected, but as a weapon to be used against his adversaries or a hurdle to be sidestepped when it gets in his way. Zirin shows how Trump has weaponized the justice system throughout his career, and he has continued to use these backhanded tactics as president. He reveals Trump's lengthy litigation history as an indication of his character and morality, and his findings are chilling. -- adapted from jacket.

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2nd Floor 347.7353/Zirin Checked In
New York : All Points Books 2019.
Main Author
James D. Zirin (author)
First edition
Physical Description
xxi, 314 pages ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [239]-303) and index.
  • Prologue
  • 1. The First Lawsuit: How Trump Was Baptized in Litigation
  • 2. Trump Takes Manhattan: The Voyage Across the East River
  • 3. Atlantic City Takes Trump: How Trump Bankrupted his Casino Empire and Emerged With Millions
  • 4. Litigation for Lunch: How Trump Used the Lawsuit to Preserve and Protect his Brand
  • 5. Empty Threats: How Trump Used the Threat of Litigation to Intimidate His Foes
  • 6. Trump and the Mob: Trump's Ties to the Mafia
  • 7. Trump and his Women: Trump's Misogyny
  • 8. The Professor of Fraud: Trump University and Other Frauds
  • 9. The Closing Bell: Life in the President's Litigation Bunker
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Zirin (Supremely Partisan), a former assistant U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York, examines in critical detail a host of President Donald Trump's entanglements in the civil justice system. Zirin begins with a 1973 case brought by the federal government against Trump and his father for housing discrimination, during which Trump began his relationship with the infamous attorney Roy Cohn, from whom, Zirin contends, Trump learned his slash-and-burn legal tactics. Other cases include his being sued by undocumented people who had worked on a project for him, in which he denied knowledge of their legal status in order to avoid payments to pension funds (the judge deemed his claims "unworthy of belief"); threats of litigation to intimidate Rolling Stone and the Onion; a class action brought by those enrolled in his Trump University; and a defamation suit Trump brought against a New York Times journalist, during which he lied 30 times in one deposition and lost. Most of the critiques Zirin raises have been previously reported, and the effect of putting together all of these lawsuits can be both overwhelming and repetitive. This may not be a fun reading experience, but it's a well-constructed documentation of Trump's legal misdeeds. (Sept.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Another searing expos of the current president.Former federal prosecutor Zirin, a "middle-of-the-road Republican," pieces together a highly damning portrait of Donald Trump as a serial abuser of the law, lifelong liar, perjurer, business fraudster, tax evader, racist, and serial perpetrator of sexual assault. The book is so incriminating not only because of the author's credentials, but also because the details are grounded in approximately 3,500 lawsuits filed by Trump, against Trump, or, in some instances, cross-filed by the opposing parties. Because litigation generally includes sworn affidavits attesting to accuracy and testimony given under oath if a trial occurs, the author is able to accurately document, page after page, the unbelievably long list of Trump's exaggerations and outright falsehoods. In fact, the documentation provided by Zirin is impossible to refute, by Trump or anybody else who might take exception to this book (most of whom will ignore the facts anyway). The author began his painstaking research in 2015, soon after Trump announced he would seek the presidency on the Republican Party ballot. Because Zirin had spent his decadeslong law career in New York, he had already formed an impression of Trump as a businessman who lacked respect for the Constitution and the courts. Among other topics, the author focuses on Trump's ties to organized crime; his business frauds related to hotels, casinos, and residential rental properties; and his phony Trump University. An entire chapter covers litigation related to Trump's mistreatment of women, including physical assault. In every chapter, Zirin explains how Trump abuses the court system, which is funded by American taxpayers, by filing lawsuits in bad faith. He also targets Trump's lawyers for their unethical behaviors. Though the author's writing is not always easy to follow, as he sometimes lapses into lawyerly jargon, his overall message is achingly clear: "All this aberrant behavior would be problematic in a businessman.But the implications of such conduct in a man who is the presidentare nothing less than terrifying."A unique approach to the continuing deconstruction of the Trumpian edifice. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.