'Communist takeover': Trump rages at 'vicious and mean' judge overseeing NY fraud case
Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Donald Trump on Friday slammed a judge overseeing a New York fraud lawsuit filed against him and his family-owned business.

An administrative judge ruled last week to keep the case before state Supreme Court justice Arthur Engoron, who has repeatedly ruled against the former president and even held him in contempt of court, and Trump raged on his Truth Social account against the judge and New York attorney general Letitia James, who filed the $250 million fraud suit last month.

"The only person who may be worse than weak on violent crime A.G. Letitia 'Peekaboo' James, is the Judge we have on her ridiculous & highly partisan case against me & my family," Trump posted. "His name is Arthur Engoron, & he is a vicious, biased, and mean 'rubber stamp' for the Communist takeover of the great & prosperous American company that I have built over a long period of years. He was appointed by my worst enemies."

"Case was to go to a new Judge, but he demands to keep it," the ex-president added. "I have no jury or Civil Rights!"

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Administrative judge Adam Silvera ruled Oct. 19 that Engoron should continue hearing the suit in the interest of "judicial economy and expediency," agreeing with the attorney general's office that he already had deep familiarity with the case developed over years of hearings.

Silvera also called out Trump's attorneys for delaying acceptance of the lawsuit for three weeks, even as lawyers for the former president and his two eldest sons, who were also charged in the complaint, filed requests to move the case to the court's commercial division.

In a separate case, Manhattan prosecutors have also charged the Trump Organization, currently run by Trump's two adult sons, Donald Jr and Eric Trump, with hiding compensation it paid to top executives between 2005 and 2021.

Trump, who is not named in that case, previously slammed the charges as a "witch hunt" by rivals, weeks ahead of congressional elections on November 8.

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"The highly partisan Democrat Witch Hunt goes on, this time in New York... right during the important Mid-Term Elections, of course," he said on social media.

The company faces potential fines of over $1.5 million if found guilty.

One of the implicated executives, longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg, has already pleaded guilty to 15 counts of tax fraud, and is expected to testify against his former company as part of a plea bargain.

A close friend of the Trump family, the 75-year-old Weisselberg admitted he schemed with the company to receive undeclared benefits such as a rent-free apartment in a posh Manhattan neighborhood, luxury cars for him and his wife and private school tuition for his grandchildren.

According to his plea deal, Weisselberg has agreed to pay nearly $2 million in fines and penalties and complete a five-month prison sentence in exchange for testimony during the trial, for which jury selection began Monday.

"This plea agreement directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in August.

With additional reporting by AFP