Kathy Hochul says New York businesses 'are different than Donald Trump', have 'nothing to worry about' after $354 million ruling in civil case

"New Yorkers who are business people have nothing to worry about because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has all but admitted that her attorney general Letitia James' civil case against Donald Trump was a partisan affair. In an interview with local radio host John Catsimatidis, Hochul told other New York business owners that they have "nothing to worry about" and will not be targeted by her attorney general's office. 

Catsimatidis asked the governor if New York business owners should be worried that they, too will be targeted for perfectly normal business operations after the Friday verdict in which Judge Arthur Engoron determined that Donald Trump must pay out $355 million in damages, years after Trump's New York-based businesses took out bank loans and paid them back. 

"If they can do that to the former president," Catsimatidis posited, "they can do that to anybody."

In response to the ruling, Trump said "A Crooked New York State Judge, working with a totally Corrupt Attorney General who ran on the basis of 'I will get Trump,' before knowing anything about me or my company, has just fined me $355 Million based on nothing other than having built a GREAT COMPANY. ELECTION INTERFERENCE. WITCH HUNT."

"The Justice System in New York State, and America as a whole, is under assault by partisan, deluded, biased Judges and Prosecutors," Trump said.

The Trump Organization slammed it too, saying "Today's ruling is a gross miscarriage of justice. Every member of the New York business community, no matter the industry, should be gravely concerned with this gross overreach and brazen attempt by the Attorney General to exert limitless power where no private or public harm has been established."

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik weighed in as well, saying "If Judge Engoron can railroad a billionaire New York businessman, a former President of the United States, and the leading presidential candidates, just imagine what he could do to all New Yorkers."

But for Hochul, a case and a verdict like the one handed down to Trump is pretty much Trump-specific and no other businesses in New York should fear prosecution. "I think that this is really an extraordinary unusual circumstance that the law-abiding and rule-following New Yorkers who are business people have nothing to worry about because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior," she said.

She said that she would not overrule Engoron's decision due to the need for "a clear separation of powers," as she said "was envisioned by our Founding Fathers."

As for New York businesse owener, she told the radio host "By and large, they are honest people and they’re not trying to hide their assets and they’re following the rules." Trump was accused of overvaluing his assets to gain loans from banks. The Trump Organization submitted their valuation of assets to banks in support of loan applications, those banks then were able to conduct their own evaluation should they choose, and gave Trump the loans. Trump then paid them back. For James and Hochul, this was a crime.

"And so this judge determined that Donald Trump did not follow the rules," Hochul said. "He was prosecuted and truly, the governor of the state of New York does not have a say in the size of a fine, and we want to make sure that we don’t have that level of interference."

For many New York businesses, however, Hochul's assurances may not be enough to keep them in a state that prosecutes businesses for taking out loans based on asset valuation and then pays them back. "More than $2 trillion in assets from the companies leaving the city and state for somewhere that isn’t here over the past four-plus years," Charles Gasparino wrote in the New York Post.

Trump's attorneys are appealing the verdict.
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