Donald Trump on Wednesday evening boarded his plane in Florida to fly to New York City for a deposition in a business fraud case, leaving the Sunshine State amid torrential rain and storms.
The 76-year-old was buffeted by winds as he climbed the steps of ‘Trump Force One’ – his private jet – at West Palm Beach airport.
The storms were so severe that Fort Lauderdale airport was closed, 45 miles south of West Palm Beach, and tornado warnings were issued for the surrounding Broward County.
Trump is due to speak to New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, for a case related to bank fraud.
James alleges that various Trump family members misled banks and others by providing financial statements that intentionally misstated the value of his assets, including his golf clubs and the hotels bearing his name.
Her office is seeking $250 million in damages, and a ban on Trump and three of his adult children – Ivanka, Don, Jr. and Eric – from doing business in the state ever again.
Donald Trump is seen on Wednesday evening boarding his plane at West Palm Beach, bound for New York City
Trump is seen arriving at the airport to board his plane
The former president’s convoy is seen arriving at the airport in Florida
Last week, Trump referred to Letitia James (pictured) as a ‘racist in reverse’ for pursuing a civil case against his businesses. He is now due to be deposed by her for a second time in connection with a $250 million business fraud case
The trip marks the first time that Trump has returned to New York City since his arrest and arraignment on charges of paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels.
The Stormy Daniels case and James’s case are not connected.
Trump and his attorneys tried to get the James case dismissed, arguing that he, as a Republican, was being ‘singled out and subject to selective treatment’ by James.
The judge in the case, Arthur Engoron, denied the former president’s move and ordered it to trial.
Engoron also rejected a separate attempt by Ivanka Trump, named in the lawsuit, to dismiss the accusations against her.
Trump previously sat for a deposition at James’ office last August, just weeks before she filed the lawsuit.
At that time, he declined to answer questions and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination more than 400 times.
Engoron has scheduled an October 2 trial date – just before the Republican presidential primaries begin.
He agreed to allow lawyers more time to review evidence, interview witnesses and file motions.
Trump’s deposition is part of that process.
Trump’s return to New York last week created a chaotic atmosphere around the Criminal Court, with both pro and anti-Trump factions represented.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, an ally of the former president, briefly rallied outside the courthouse in his support – but was called a ‘Nazi’ and told to ‘go back to Georgia b***h’ by members of the crowd.
She quickly retreated to her car.
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (pictured bottom left in sunglasses) was swarmed by a scrum of the media and protesters as she appeared for a rally outside the court hosting Donald Trump’s indictment
The firebrand Trump ally was drowned out as she tried to speak in a park opposite the court by anti-Trump protesters screaming ‘Nazi’ and ‘go back to Georgia b****’
Security was beefed up around the courthouse and Trump Tower.
Additionally, the judge in charge of the hush-money case, New York Judge Juan Merchan, has had to increase his security after receiving a flurry of death threats after Trump turned him into a political target.
After leaving New York, Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago and delivered a speech attacking Merchan, James and others.
‘I have a Trump-hating judge, with a Trump-hating wife and family, whose daughter worked for Kamala Harris and now receives money from the Biden-Harris campaign and a lot of it,’ Trump said of Merchan from the podium at his Florida home and resort.
Merchan’s daughter works in Democratic politics and NBC News found that he had donated $15 last cycle to President Joe Biden, who robbed Trump of a second term.
The former president referred to James, who is black, as a ‘racist in reverse’ for pursuing the fraud cases against his businesses.