Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits

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Product Details

All Points Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 1.3 X 9.3 inches | 1.14 pounds
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About the Author

JAMES D. ZIRIN is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he served in the Criminal Division under the legendary Robert Morgenthau. His writing has appeared in major periodicals such as Forbes, The LA Times, The London Times, Washington Times, The Nation, and the New York Law Journal. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A graduate of Princeton University, Zirin received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.


"One of the most useful and readable accounts of Trump's early career in business...Zirin's book is a valuable guide to Trump's mind-set and a good primer for the months ahead as a series of investigations close in on the president."
--David Fahrenthold, Washington Post

"'Admit nothing, deny everything; lie, disassemble, and prevaricate. Make false and scurrilous accusations to demonize your adversary.' Donald Trump's formula for litigation mirrors his presidency--as compellingly told by Jim Zirin. A must-read!"
--Richard Ben-Veniste, assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, member of 9/11 Commission and former federal prosecutor

"Plaintiff in Chief captures the enigmatic qualities of a president who has, at turns, sought to bludgeon his enemies through the courts, even while disparaging the rule of law tenets on which our democracy stands. A compelling and insightful must-read."
--Anthony W. Crowell, Dean and President, New York Law School

"Like a careful lawyer who knows how to enthrall a jury, Jim Zirin delivers a vivid page-turner that spans the angry, vituperative, mean-spirited, litigious life of Donald Trump."
--Ken Auletta, author and columnist, The New Yorker

"Since becoming president, Donald Trump has shown a disturbing, but so far unrealized, inclination to use the justice system for political revenge. Plaintiff in Chief documents the honing of that instinct during Trump's decades-long obsession with litigation as a weapon of financial and reputational war."
--Heather MacDonald, author, The Diversity Delusion

"This book is a first: a presidential biography gleaned through hundreds of law suits, settlements and disregard for the courts. Here it all is, the crucial guide to an American kleptocrat's anti-legal obstructions of justice, money laundering enterprises, alliances with mob bosses and bully boy tactics, taught by his mentor Roy Cohn. Jim Zirin has written a meticulously researched true crime thriller."
--Marie Brenner, writer-at-large, Vanity Fair

"Donald Trump's perverted manipulation of the law to serve his twisted ends is laid out as never before in Jim Zirin's splendid new book. It's an essential read for anyone who wants to really understand Trump."
--Bob Herbert, author and filmmaker, former op-ed columnist, New York Times

"This examination of Donald Trump in litigation is a fascinating and riveting revelation of the calculating character and take no prisoners approach of our President."
--Joseph A. Califano, Jr., attorney and Chief Domestic Aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson

"James Zirin knows Trump's legal history inside out, and he makes sense of it in this lucid book, as only a brilliant veteran lawyer can. Is Roy Cohn's malevolent spirit running the White House? Zirin shows us how terribly real that nightmare might be."
--Sean Wilentz, professor, Princeton University

"Zirin advances the proposition that you can learn everything you need to know about Trump from the way he conducted himself in court--and that in fact he became the Trump we know today through his participation in some 4,000 lawsuits...Zirin has proven his case beyond a reasonable doubt."
--Max Boot, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, Washington Post columnist, CNN commentator

"President Trump regards the law as a weapon to be used for his own gain, not an ideal to be respected. In his great book, Plaintiff in Chief, James Zirin traces the origin of Trump's view through a multitude of lawsuits. It is a definitive history of what led us to a lawless presidency."
--Corey Brettschneider, professor, Brown University

"James Zirin has had an essential insight: if you want to understand the 45th President of the United States, you should start with the 3,500 lawsuits he's been enmeshed in. Donald Trump thrives on litigation: he gets sustenance from it, he gets pleasure. And his life's story can be told through arranging and recreating them. This is a brilliant book that could only have been written by someone like Zirin--a man with a long history as a lawyer, a prosecutor, a journalist, and a New Yorker. It's an absolutely marvelous read."
--Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief, Wired

"A unique approach to the continuing deconstruction of the Trumpian edifice. Former federal prosecutor Zirin pieces together a highly damning portrait of Donald Trump as a serial abuser of the law. The book is so incriminating not only because of the author's credentials, but also because the details are grounded in lawsuits filed by Trump, against Trump, or, in some instances, cross-filed by the opposing parties."
--Kirkus Review

"A fascinating insight into Trump's legal history--exposing his motives and methods, psychology and morals."
--Frances Gibb, Spectator USA

"Zirin is to be commended on a fully referenced and readable book in which his own sense of commitment to the rule of law, and disapproval of what he describes, are palpable."
--Lord Mance, London Times