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A convincingly damning case that dives deep into the tangles of both law and finance.

A former federal prosecutor recounts the failed effort to bring charges against Donald Trump.

“Over the months that I and others worked on the case, we developed evidence convincing us that Donald Trump had committed serious crimes,” writes Pomerantz, who was brought out of retirement to help Manhattan’s district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., investigate financial misdeeds. The author delivers a deep—and sometimes ponderously detailed—account of what that involved. One point was Trump’s habit of valuing his properties high for the purposes of bank loans and low for the purposes of paying taxes: Whereas one at 40 Wall St. was valued at more than $527 million for a lender, Trump valued it at between $16 million and $19 million for taxes. To Pomerantz’s chief associates, that “looked like fraud” and led the DA’s office to the verge of filing criminal charges. They did not, in part because gaming numbers is a common ploy in New York real estate circles. On the matter of Michael Cohen’s payout, on Trump’s behalf, of hush money to Stormy Daniels “so that she would not disclose her alleged affair with Trump on the eve of the 2016 election,” the legal reasoning gets complicated. The payout becomes illegal only if it’s established that this disclosure is an act of extortion, while the demonstrated falsification of business records is only a misdemeanor in New York. In the end, the DA went after lesser players, including Cohen and Trump Organization finance director Allen Weisselberg, both of whom received prison sentences for their crimes. When Vance left office, his successor, to Pomerantz’s great consternation, dropped the investigation because, the author suggests, he “had scant experience in leading or defending high-profile prosecutions.” Pomerantz’s dour conclusion for the moment is that “once again, Donald Trump had managed to dance between the raindrops of accountability.” Yet, he adds, there are other legal avenues to take, so stay tuned.

A convincingly damning case that dives deep into the tangles of both law and finance.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781668022443

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A welcome call to grow up and cut out the whining.

The New York Times columnist serves up a cogent argument for shelving the grudge and sucking it up.

In 1976, Tom Wolfe described the “me decade” as a pit of mindless narcissism. A half century later, Bruni, author of Born Round and other bestselling books, calls for a renaming: “‘Me Turning Point’ would have been more accurate, because the period of time since has been a nonstop me jamboree.” Our present cultural situation, he notes, is marked by constant grievance and endless grasping. The ensuing blame game has its pros. Donald Trump, he notes, “became a victor by playing the victim, and his most impassioned oratory, such as it was, focused not on the good that he could do for others but on the bad supposedly done to him.” Bruni is an unabashed liberal, and while he places most of the worst behavior on the right—he opens with Sean Hannity’s bleating lie that the Biden administration was diverting scarce baby formula from needy Americans to illegal immigrants—he also allows that the left side of the aisle has committed its share of whining. A case in point: the silencing of a professor for showing an image of Mohammed to art students, neither religiously proscribed nor done without ample warning, but complained about by self-appointed student censors. Still, “not all grievances are created equal,” he writes. “There is January 6, 2021, and there is everything else. Attempts by leaders on the right to minimize what happened that day and lump it together with protests on the left are as ludicrous as they are dangerous.” Whether from left or right, Bruni calls for a dose of humility on the part of all: “an amalgam of kindness, openness, and silliness might be an effective solvent for grievance.”

A welcome call to grow up and cut out the whining.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781668016435

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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