Trump Speaks Out at Mar-a-Lago After Fraud Ruling

Catherine Yang
By Catherine Yang
February 16, 2024Donald Trump

Outside Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump blasted New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron after he was found in a civil fraud case to be liable for fraud.

“I paid over $100 million in taxes and they want me out,” President Trump said, claiming businesses are being run out of New York because of corrupt officials. “These are corrupt people, they shouldn’t be allowed to do what they do.”

“A fine of $355 million for doing a perfect job!” he said. He said the banks and insurers he worked with, which Ms. James accused him of defrauding, made great profits and were very happy with his business.

Friday afternoon, Justice Engoron issued a verdict in the multimillion dollar fraud case that also banned President Trump from doing business in New York for three years, and installed an independent monitor and a compliance officer in Trump Organization to continue to provide oversight of financial operations.

Alina Habba, attorney for President Trump, immediately issued a statement about their intention to appeal.

She said the verdict was “manifest injustice—plain and simple.”

“Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients,” Ms. Habba stated.

Trump: ‘We Built a Great Company’

President Trump defended Trump Organization, which is not a corporation but an umbrella name for a collection of businesses and holding companies. He joined the family real estate company in 1968 and began leading it in 1971, later renaming it to Trump Organization. After President Trump took office, he handed leadership of the company over to his two adult sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who were also named as defendants in the fraud case.

“We built a great company, there was no fraud, the banks all got their money, 100 percent, they love Trump, they testified that Trump is great, great customer,” he said. “And the judge does that. The judge is a corrupt person.”

“This judge thought Mar-a-Lago was worth $18 million when it’s worth anywhere from 50 to 100 times that amount,” President Trump said.

Justice Engoron found President Trump liable for fraud in September 2023, about a week before the trial began. In his summary judgment, he found that President Trump had inflated his net worth by up to $2.2 billion.

The summary judgment put Mar-a-Lago’s value at between $18 million and $26 million based on county assessor numbers, drawing widespread confusion and ridicule from the real estate industry and broader public.

Toward the end of the trial period, defense attorneys got into several arguments with the judge, accusing him of bias and that he treated the state and defendants differently. Defense attorneys indicated their intention to appeal and expectation of a ruling against them.

President Trump has blasted Ms. James as well, arguing that she campaigned on a “get Trump” platform and that the case is politically motivated.

He has maintained that the cases against him have been brought by political opponents.

“It’s election interference,” he said. “If I weren’t running, none of these lawsuits would have ever happened.”

“They’re using this as weaponization against a political opponent who’s up a lot in the polls,” he said.

“We’ll appeal, we’ll be successful. Frankly, if we’re not successful … people are moving out of New York state and because of this, they’re going to move out at a much faster rate,” he said.

From The Epoch Times

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