Donald J. Trump Calls out Witch Hunt in New York Case, Blames Jack Smith and the DOJ

AP Photo/Mike Mulholland

A fiery former President Donald J. Trump sounded off during a recess of his trial in New York on fraud charges. Democrat New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron had already ruled last week that Trump, the Trump Organization and officials had overestimated property values on his business holdings and estates. Engoron then canceled the defendants’ New York business certificates and ordered an independent receiver to oversee their dissolution. Trump was none too pleased at these developments.

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Aggrieved and defiant, former President Donald Trump sat through hours of sometimes testy opening arguments Monday in a fraud lawsuit that could cost him control of some of his most prized properties.

“Disgraceful trial,” he declared during a lunch break, after listening to lawyers for New York Attorney General Letitia James excoriate him as a habitual liar. The state’s lawsuit accuses the business-mogul-turned-politician and his company of deceiving banks, insurers and others by misstating his wealth for years in financial statements.

Trump posted part of those remarks on his social media platform Truth Social.

WATCH:

What we have here is an attempt to hurt me in an election. It's an attempt to hurt me in an election. This has never happened before, where President of the United States leaves office and gets indicted. And the reason I got indicted was that I ran. If I didn't run, I'd be sitting right now at a beach like Biden does every time even though he's supposed to be working. So very simply put, it's a witch hunt, it's a disgrace, we have a corrupt attorney general in this state, you see how she does. This trial was railroaded and fast tracked. This trial could have been brought years ago, but they waited 'til I was right in the middle of my campaign. The same with other trials and indictments, it's all run by DOJ which is corrupt in Washington. Everything goes through them. They're all corrupt people. Frankly, this country is corrupt. That's one of the reasons why I'm running, we're going to straighten it out. 

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After his statement, the former president answered questions about the proceedings. Trump called out Justice Erdogan in particular on his bias.

This is called election interference and much worse than that! This judge should change this! He ruled, and we didn't even have a chance to testify. [He's] getting away with murder. [...]

Why is it that he did not honor the decision of the appellate [court]? This is a judge who should be disbarred. This is a judge who should be out of office. This is a judge who should be charged criminally.

Trump continued to frame this trial and the indictments lodged against him as not just a fight for him but for the American people. 

Someone has to fight, because if you don't fight, our country is going down the tubes. We can't let this happen. 

Between Jack Smith and between all these DOJ officials, this is a witch hunt.

Trump voluntarily attended the trial, making his presence known at the counsel's table and outside the courtroom. He reiterated his charges against James and Justice Engoron before proceedings began, and defended his financial statements as, "phenomenal."

Currently the Republican front-runner in the 2024 presidential race, he reiterated claims that James, a Democrat, is trying to thwart his return to the White House.

“It’s a scam. It’s a sham,” Trump said outside court. He called the case “an attempt to hurt me in an election” and added: “I don’t think the people of this country are going to stand for it.”

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