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Trump says NY civil fraud fine against him is ‘a form of Navalny’

Former President Trump on Tuesday called Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s death “a horrible thing,” but doubled down on his suggestion that it’s comparable to his own legal troubles as he runs for the White House.

“Navalny is a very sad situation, and he’s very brave,” Trump said during a Fox News town hall with Laura Ingraham. “He was a very brave guy. He went back, he could’ve stayed away. And, frankly, probably would’ve been a lot better off staying away and talking from outside of the country as opposed to going back in, because people thought that could happen, and it did happen. And It’s a horrible thing.”

“But it’s happening in our country, too,” Trump continued. “We are turning into a communist country in many ways. And if you look at it. I’m the leading candidate, I get indicted—I never heard of being indicted before—I get indicted four times. I have eight or nine trials… all because of the fact that I’m in politics. They indicted me on things that are so ridiculous.”

Asked later about a judge ordering him to pay $355 million as part of a civil fraud trial decision over his business practices, Trump called it “a form of Navalny.”

“It is a form of communism or fascism,” Trump said.

Ingraham asked Trump multiple times if he sees himself as a potential political prisoner. The former president did not directly answer, and he mused that his critics “hate me so much” that they would have perhaps pursued charges even if he were not running for office.

Navalny, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died last week in a Russian prison. He was 47.

Navalny was serving a 19-year sentence on charges of extremism, and in December was moved from a different prison to the highest-security level facility in the country near the Arctic Circle. The “special regime” penal colony prison in the town of Kharp, which is about 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow, is in a remote area known for its severe winters.

Navalny has been imprisoned since January 2021, when he returned to Russia after recovering from a poisoning that he blamed on Putin, who has denied trying to kill Navalny with a nerve agent.

Trump did not weigh in on his death for several days, but when he did, he invoked his own legal troubles.

Trump is facing 91 felony charges across four different investigations. He was indicted in New York City over an alleged hush money scheme to keep an affair quiet during the 2016 campaign. He was charged in Washington, D.C., for his efforts to subvert the 2020 election. He was indicted in Georgia for attempting to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. And he was charged in Florida over his handling of classified documents upon leaving office and refusal to return them.

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