Former US president Donald Trump has condemned New York prosecutors for bringing charges against his namesake company and long-time financial adviser, using a campaign-style rally to air a host of grievances.
Key points:

  • Donald Trump’s company are facing charges over an alleged “sweeping and audacious” tax fraud scheme 
  • The outcome of the investigation could impact whether Mr Trump decides to run for president in 2024
  • Mr Trump used the rally to criticise Joe Biden’s policies

“It’s really called prosecutorial misconduct. It’s a terrible, terrible thing,” Mr Trump told thousands of supporters gathered outdoors in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday.
The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to what a New York prosecutor called “sweeping and audacious” tax fraud.
The charges arose from a probe into Mr Trump’s business and its practices.
Mr Weisselberg and other executives were accused of receiving perks and benefits such as rent-free apartments and leased cars, without reporting them properly on their tax returns.
The outcome of the investigations and other lawsuits Mr Trump faces could impact his decision whether to run again for president in 2024.
Donald Trump has suggested he may seek re-election in 2024.(Reuters: Octavio Jones
 “They’ve mobilised every power of government to come after me, my family, my wonderful employees and my company solely because of politics,” Mr Trump told the crowd.
The rally was billed as a Fourth of July celebration with fireworks, the latest in a series of appearances as the former president tries to keep Republicans’ focus on him.
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Mr Trump used his speech to denounce the policies of his successor, President Joe Biden, a Democrat, and repeat his false claim that he lost the 2020 election due to fraud.
He urged his supporters to back his allies in their mid-term campaigns as Republicans fight to take back control of Congress from the Democratic Party next year.
Mr Trump dwelt heavily on Mr Biden’s policies along the US border with Mexico and rising crime, two issues that Republicans hope to use to their advantage in the 2022 mid-term elections.
Mr Trump’s image took a beating after his supporters’ deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
However, some 53 per cent of Republicans believe Mr Trump won last year’s election and blame his loss on illegal voting, and one-quarter of the overall public agreed Mr Trump won, a May 17-19 Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.
Trump ‘looking at’ 2024 re-election
Mr Trump, 75, has dangled the possibility of running for president again in 2024, and his latest rallies mark an effort to keep his base energised and in his camp.
“We are looking at the election, more than looking at it,” said Mr Trump of 2024, prompting cheers from the Sarasota crowd.
Many Republicans, however, see Florida’s 42-year-old governor Ron DeSantis as an appealing option for a 2024 party nominee.
A long-time Trump ally, Mr DeSantis has been at the forefront of Republican-led fights against strict anti-coronavirus lockdowns, racial justice protests and expanded ballot access.
In a straw poll of potential 2024 candidates at a conservative conference in Denver in June, Mr DeSantis finished ahead of Mr Trump, 74 per cent to 71 per cent.
Mr DeSantis’s office has said the governor is focused on winning re-election in Florida next year, not aspiring to national office.