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What Do Donald Trump, Sean Combs (Diddy) and Apple have in Common?

Lady Liberty Holding Scales of Justice

Why are Donald Trump, Apple and Diddy in the Same Boat?

Donald Trump, Apple and Sean Combs (Diddy) have three very different types of legal proceedings but they share a frightening common factor. Each case involves a massive onslaught of government power that has and will damage each of them regardless of whether they win in the end.

The Trump Case Has No Victims

Donald Trump’s state cases involve charges that would not be brought against anyone who was not a high profile target. The $ 454 million dollar judgment against Trump is unprecedented. No one can name a civil fraud lawsuit where no one lost a penny and yet a judgment of almost half a billion dollars was awarded. Even if Trump wins on appeal no one is going to pay him back for the cost of posting his huge appeal bond (even though it was reduced) or for his legal fees.

Your can read the entire New York lawsuit against Donald Trump here.

Apple is Being Blamed for Being Good

Apple was just sued by the government which contends that when it makes Iphones it has to design them to work with everyone’s competing phones and software. This ill founded lawsuit cost Apple over $ 100 million dollars oh sorry $ 100 BILLION dollars in stock value. Of course, that doesn’t hurt Apple, it hurts the people who bought stock in Apple - it hurt the consumer. The lawsuit basically attacks Apple for creating an Apple universe. It happens that people like the Apple universe but someone the government thinks that creating a better product and better services is anti-competitive. The lawsuit will force Apple to change its way of designing its hardware, operating system and its business model.

You can read the entire 88 page Apple anti-trust lawsuit here.

Sean Combs Will Never Recover His Reputation - Even if he is 100% in the Right

Sean Combs is now labeled a child trafficking pervert. For all we know he is a happily married man who loves his wife and children. It doesn’t matter. The government conducted high profile sweeps of his homes and let it be known that sex trafficking of minors was the issue. His reputation is ruined forever and we have no idea if there is any credible basis for the allegations that led to the issuance of a search warrant.  (This writer takes no sides in this case.  The truth of the allegations is to be addressed at a different time.  This blog focuses on the imbalance of power when the government brings a case.)

The Combs search warrant is related to this allegation. 

On November 16, 2023, Casandra Ventura a/k/a “Cassie” filed a 35-page lawsuit in which she exposed Sean Combs for subjecting her to nearly a decade of physical, sexual and emotional abuse punctuated by rape, sex trafficking and being forced to engage in drug fueled nonconsensual sexual encounters with other men ...  This is from the current lawsuit filed in December of 2023.

You can read the 12/6/2023 lawsuit against Sean Diddy Combs here.

Allegations in the Sean Diddy Combs lawsuit 

This lawsuit has sexual abuse claims by the plaintiff and it relates the existence of four other claims including these:

Only a few days later, two other lawsuits were filed against Mr. Combs. In one, plaintiff Joi Dickerson-Neal alleged that Mr. Combs drugged and sexually assaulted her when she was a college student.

The other lawsuit accused Ms. Combs and singer Aaron Hall of forcing the plaintiff and another unidentified woman into nonconsensual sex. 4. At the same time, a fourth lawsuit was filed; this one against Mr. Combs’ companies and Defendant Harve Pierre, the longtime President of Bad Boy Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (“Bad Boy”). The suit alleged that Mr. Pierre used his position of power at Bad Boy to groom and sexually assault his former assistant, and that Bad Boy looked the other way at the time.

Most specifically it claims that:

Specifically, in 2003, when she was only 17 years old and in the 11th grade, Ms. Doe was sex trafficked and gang raped by Mr. Combs, Mr. Pierre and the Third Assailant. 

• When she was just a teenager, Ms. Doe met Mr. Pierre and the Third Assailant in a lounge in the Detroit, Michigan area. While at the lounge, Mr. Pierre insisted that he was “best friends” with Mr. Combs, and even called Mr. Combs with Ms. Doe.

• Mr. Combs convinced Ms. Doe, who was half his age at the time, to accompany Mr. Pierre and the Third Assailant on a private jet to come to his studio in New York City. • Before they left for the private jet, Mr. Pierre smoked crack cocaine in a bathroom at the lounge, in which he also sexually assaulted Ms. Doe by forcing her to give him oral sex

And many more details follow.   One expect that the search warrants were based upon this material and more.

The Justice System is Not a System of Balance or Fairness

Still - the allegation phase is fraught with penalties before proof of wrongdoing.  Trial is years away and while the current publicity seems damning it is still trial by accusation - oddly before trial.

The lesson here is that our system of justice is not really based upon balance or fairness. It is justice in my view when you finally get in front a jury. Donald Trump never saw a jury. His entire fortune was put at risk based upon a single judge. Sean Combs had his home searched when a single judge signed a search warrant authored by law enforcement and never shown to Diddy before it was issued.

Apple had ample notice of the DOJ investigation but the people judging and ultimately attacking Apple have no real business background. They are law school graduates with political views who then wield almost unfettered power.

Now personally, I have no horse in the Trump, Apple or Diddy race. Why I care is that my clients do not have the economic strength of these three giant entities. (And I consider Trump and Combs to be both people and a brand as well.) Being arrested or being sued by the government will cause irreparable damage to the average person or even a person of substantial means. For these reasons we must always be vigilant in opposing the government and reigning in its power. This is true even when we agree with what the government is doing.

Balance is a Strange Thing

Recently in the Trump document trial the judge ordered both sides to present potential jury instructions.  Each side is preparing instructions that fit their theory of the case.  This is fair in the sense that Judge Aileen Cannon is keeping all options on the table.  Or is it fair.  Special counsel Jack Smith called that order “fundamentally flawed” because it gave potential credence to a theory of the case (the defense theory) has “no basis in law or fact.”  From Jack Smith's perspective, balance when there should be no balance is bias.

Now You Understand How Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Represent People Who Have Done Terrible Things

When you see a criminal defense attorney aggressively defending a heinous killer, remember that without that check on governmental power the government will run wild.  Only themost aggressive (and often annoying and offensive) defender can truly hold the government in check.

There is Little Compensation for Being Accused but then Winning

There are statutes that provide compensation for people who are wrongly imprisoned.  In California Penal Code §§ 4900 to 4906 provide compensation if there is a pardon or an actual finding by a court that you are innocent.  But it takes more than that. You need the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board to make a recommendation to the legislature that you get paid.  If you finally get money it is $ 140 a day of incarceration.

If you win a civil or criminal case the “American Rule” on attorneys’ fees means that each party pays its own legal fees and there is no recompense for what you paid to your lawyers.  There are some statutes that change this but generally if you are sued and win, you still lose.  So if Apple wins against the government's anti-trust lawsuit, it will not get its millions of dollars in fees or other losses back.  If Donald Trump overturns the judge's ruling he gets nothing back for his attorney's fees or the money he had to pay in order to post the appeal bond.

And what about people who are searched and nothing is found?  The answer, he gets nothing.  There is the possibility of a civil rights lawsuit (See: 42 USC 1983) if the search was illegal in some manner.  But if the search was based upon an honest affidavit and probable cause, the huge damage to his reputation is just something he has to live with.

Diddy Has No Remedy Even if he is 100% in the Right

Diddy is particular without a good remedy.  “The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, provides: ‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’ ” (Conway v. Pasadena Humane Society (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 163, 171)   So it is not a 4th Amendment violation unless there is no probable cause.  The Fourth Amendment does not protect against searches that are damaging.  It protects only against unreasonable searches.  Since in the Diddy case a judge review the facts and issued a warrant he will have a major struggle to show that the search was unconstitutional.

Apple's Reputation is Damaged Even it Wins

Likewise, even if Apple wins here is what the DOJ put in its press release:

“Consumers should not have to pay higher prices because companies violate the antitrust laws,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “We allege that Apple has maintained monopoly power in the smartphone market, not simply by staying ahead of the competition on the merits, but by violating federal antitrust law.

So to those without legal skills or a business sense, Apple is a cheat and cost us (the consumer) money.  What about the other argument.  Apple wants to design its phone and its software to work together and it does not want to allow Chinese phones or cheap knockoffs to imitate the Apple Iphone innovations and then use the Apple platform to compete with itself.  Well, that will be one Apple legal argument.  Think about it this way.  What if Apple invented texting.  Wouldn't Apple have the right to keep texting a function between Iphones?  Why would Apple invent texting and then be forced to make texting available for all phones?    You can tell by the DOJ press release that sophisticated arguments are not at the core of this lawsuit.  Apple is targeted and the beneficiary will be overseas competitors.

Donald Trump Has Suffered Major Financial Losses Even if He Wins

Donald Trump is a lawsuit magnet.  You move like or not like him but consider this - would the New York lawsuit have resulted in $ 454 million dollars in damages if he was not a well known former President?  If you say "yes", please cite a single instance of such a large award when no one lost money.  There is none.  So ... maybe you dislike Donald Trump.  Change his name to Joseph Biden or Sally Smith or Jane Doe.  At what point do you become concerned about the legal process being used to target specific people?

About the Author of this Blog

Daniel Horowitz is a trial attorney whose office is in Lafayette, California.  Daniel is a frequent television legal commentator and has represented such high profile clients as Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavel Lazarenko, radio host Michael Savage and best selling author Terry McMillan.  

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