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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Mathieu

Weekly News Blast | March 18 - 24


people walking in front of Trump Tower New York, whch is decorated for Christmas

Trump Tower is one of many of Donald Trump's New York properties that could be seized if he fails to pay the $464 million bond set in his civil fraud case (Phil Roeder, Wikimedia Commons)


Will Trump be Able to Post Bond?


In February, Judge Arthur F. Engoron decided against former president Donald Trump in a New York civil fraud case, ruling that the family and two other executives submitted incorrect information to lenders and insurance companies to save money. Trump’s attorneys petitioned appellate judges to either lessen or dismiss the $464 million bond, but it is unclear whether they will honor this. Officially, the deadline to pay this sum is March 25. If the judges do not rule in favor of Trump, he will be forced to pay the bond in full or actions will be taken against him.


So far, it seems Trump is postponing payment until the court makes a ruling, but he is still working to obtain the money in the case he is ordered to pay the bond. Because Trump’s assets are primarily property, he seems to be having difficulty acquiring liquid funds. According to Trump’s lawyers, they have gone to over 30 insurance companies, but most refuse to take his property as collateral. Even if Trump sold some of his holdings, it would not be in time to meet the upcoming deadline. Nevertheless, Trump has come out publicly on his platform Truth Social to assure people he has the money and will use it if necessary. The question is whether these funds are cash or money on campaign disclosure forms.


If Trump is unable to pay the bond in time for the deadline, it is still unclear what action will be taken against the former president. One possibility, and the one it seems Trump’s team is hoping for, is that New York Attorney General Letitia James chooses not to act on the case immediately. However, unless the court decides in favor of the former president and dismisses the bond, James also has the power to start seizing Trump’s assets. It is assumed that she will begin with his bank accounts, but it is also possible she will take some of his New York properties. Once the properties are obtained, they would be auctioned off by the state to the highest bidder. It seems the only other option for Trump would be to file for bankruptcy, something he has done before. While the action would not remove the debt the former president has to New York, it would give him more time to pay the money. With the possibility of several more years to accumulate the money, one would think Trump’s team would consider this option, but sources close to the former president say he refuses to even think about it.


It is still unclear if any of these hypotheticals will need to come into play, as the former president might be able to find a bond at the last minute. Until the court ruling returns and James’ actions are more clear, the question of Trump’s bond is still up to speculation.


Kate Middleton’s Cancer Diagnosis


In January, the palace announced that Kate Middleton was going to be in the hospital for abdominal surgery and would be out of the public eye for the upcoming months. The public assumed this was a common procedure, and little speculation occurred apart from well wishes for the princess. However, after the palace posted a photo on Mother’s Day that many noticed to be photoshopped, worry and confusion made worries about the princess much more prominent as many debated what might have caused this uncharacteristic misstep by the beloved royal. This became clear on March 22, when a video was released where the princess explained that she was being treated for cancer.


Coming shortly after the announcement of King Charles’ cancer, worry for the royal family is only increasing. So far, what has been shared publically about the princess’ diagnoses is minimal but does give insight into the situation. Middleton shared that it was not until the previously announced abdominal surgery that they found the cancer and were able to get it tested. That being said, they were able to catch the cancer early and it is not yet extremely invasive. The princess explained that she is currently going through a type of treatment called preventative chemotherapy, also known as adjuvant chemotherapy. The purpose of this procedure is to destroy any microscopic cancer cells beginning to form before they become a major issue. Similar to other types of chemotherapy, the effects of this are not comfortable, often leading to nausea, fatigue, tingling in the hands and feet, and often hair loss. Depending on the person and amount of treatment, some recover from these effects rather quickly while others take months post-treatment.


The good news is under most circumstances, those who undergo preventative chemotherapy can return to full strength and continue life with cancer behind them. The royal family has repeatedly affirmed that their focus is supporting the princess and those around her as they discover what this new part of their lives will look like. It is unclear when Princess Kate will be back to the popular royal she is known as, but so far, it seems the public is supportive as the family takes the time they need to ensure her safety and comfort.


Department of Justice Sues Apple for Antitrust Violations


On Thursday, March 21, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced a unique case against Apple involving antitrust violations. While the DoJ’s argument works partially off of the common antitrust idea that fewer market choices lead to higher prices, it also targets a social aspect of Apple’s monopoly. In the government’s statement, they argued that the company “undermines apps, products, and services that would otherwise make users less reliant on the iPhone.” The main legs of the argument fall on the belief that Apple blocks apps that would make it easier to switch between platforms, suppresses tap to pay other than Apple Pay, and refuses to protect the security of messages across iPhone and Android as much as messages within their platform. Apple has been under investigation by many other countries, including Japan, South Korea, and countries in Europe, but this is the first action taken by the Biden Administration against the corporation.


One of the arguments against Apple is that they prevent certain competitor apps from entering the App Store. One example of this is an app created by Xbox that would allow someone to play multiple games within a single application, which would save money for users as they would only have to purchase and upgrade one app instead of many. The government argues that Apple’s efforts to block such apps hurt innovation. In addition, Apple prevents any tap-to-pay programs other than their Apple Pay. The company argues that this is so they can ensure the protection of a customer’s information and money, but the suit points out that Apple gets to collect a small profit from each purchase made. By refusing other platforms, the government claims that the company is forcing customers to continuously give them money, not because it is the best option but because it is the only option.


The most unique part of this case is the focus on the cultural aspect of Apple’s monopoly. The contrasting blue and green messages are being introduced as a split of cultures, pressuring people into buying Apple products. First, any messages sent between an iPhone and Android are less secure, meaning it is easier for a hacker to break in and read private messages. Further, the case describes how people can be shunned for breaking a text message thread because of their non-Apple phone. While this color difference has become somewhat of a humorous debate for many, in the legal world the government thinks it is a marketing ploy that goes against anti-trust laws.


Anti-trust experts are curious about where this case will go, knowing that if it is ruled in the government’s favor it will cause significant changes in the tech world. This is the first time cultural beliefs and peer pressure have been used as part of the motivation of a suit like this and it could have harmful effects on other tech giants like Google and Meta if it goes through. It will most likely be months before we know for sure the ruling of the court, but until then we can only speculate whether a green or blue bubble is worth suing a company over.


 


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