Trump rails against New York fraud ruling as he faces fines that could exceed half-a-billion dollars

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WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich, Feb 18, (AP): Former US president Donald Trump railed against the judge who slapped him with a $355 million fine in his New York civil fraud trial and went after the long list of prosecutors with cases against him as he campaigned in Michigan Saturday night while facing penalties that, with interest, could exceed half-a-billion dollars.
Trump was making his pitch in a state that is expected to be critical in November as he pivots toward a likely general election rematch against President Joe Biden. While Biden narrowly beat Trump here in 2020, the president is facing deep skepticism in the state, especially from Arab-American voters angry over his support for Israel in the Israel-Hamas war as the Palestinian death toll has climbed.
Trump, meanwhile, has been working to appeal to the blue-collar and union voters who were critical to his victory in 2016. On Saturday, he again made his pitch to auto workers, railing against electric vehicle mandates that he argues will ultimately lead to lost jobs and touted tariffs he put in place.
“We have to let them know a freight train is coming in November,” Trump told more than 2,000 supporters gathered in a freezing plane hangar in Waterford Township, in the suburbs of Detroit.
But Trump was again most focused on his grievances, opening with a 15-minute screed about the criminal and civil cases against him.
On Friday, a judge in New York ordered Trump to pay $355 million after concluding he had lied about his wealth for years, scheming to dupe banks, insurers and others by inflating his wealth on financial statements. Trump has vowed to appeal.
That penalty came days after Trump was ordered to pay $83.3 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll for damaging her reputation after she accused him of sexual assault.
With interest payments, Trump’s legal debts might now exceed a half-billion dollars – an amount it is unclear whether or not Trump can afford to pay.
Trump cast Friday’s decision as “a lawless and unconstitutional atrocity that sets fire to our laws like no one has ever seen in this country before.”

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