Former US Prez Donald Trump clashes with judge at New York civil fraud trial


Combative Donald Trump clashes with judge at 'very unfair' New York civil fraud trial

Former US President Donald Trump arrives again from a break at New York Supreme Court throughout his civil fraud trial on 6 November, 2023 in New York City. AFP

A combative Donald Trump clashed repeatedly with the judge Monday as he took the stand within the New York civil fraud case threatening to cripple his actual property empire.

“This is not a political rally,” New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron instructed the previous president after admonishing him to maintain his solutions quick.

“Please, just answer the questions, no speeches,” Engoron mentioned earlier than asking considered one of Trump’s legal professionals, Christopher Kise, to “control your client.”

Trump, the primary former US president to take the stand as a defendant in a courtroom case in additional than a century, complained in testimony about what he known as a “very unfair” and “crazy trial” introduced by Democrats “coming after me from 15 different sides.”

The 77-year-old Trump, wearing a darkish blue go well with and tie with an American flag on his lapel, was sworn in shortly after 10:00 am (1500 GMT) to start his testimony.

Trump, his eldest sons Don Jr and Eric, and different Trump Organization executives are accused of exaggerating the worth of their actual property property by billions of {dollars} to acquire extra beneficial financial institution loans and insurance coverage phrases.

Testifying below oath, Trump dismissed allegations that the corporate’s statements of monetary situation have been fraudulent, and mentioned “they were not really documents that the banks paid much attention to.”

He mentioned the worth of the “Trump brand” was additionally not taken under consideration within the valuations of his actual property property.

“I became president because of my brand,” Trump mentioned below questioning from Kevin Wallace, a lawyer for the New York lawyer normal’s workplace which introduced the case.

Before taking the stand, Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, spoke to reporters outdoors the courtroom, denouncing the case as “election interference.”

“It’s a very sad situation,” he mentioned. “It usually takes place in third world countries and banana republics.”

‘Numbers, my friends, don’t lie’

New York state Attorney General Letitia James instructed reporters earlier than Trump’s arrival that the previous president had “consistently misrepresented and inflated the value of his assets.”

“Before he takes the stand, I am certain that he will engage in name-calling and taunts and race-baiting and call this a witch hunt,” James mentioned. “But at the tip of the day, the one factor that issues are the info and the numbers.

“And numbers, my friends, don’t lie.”

Trump has repeatedly attacked James, who’s Black, as “racist,” and has additionally gone after Engoron, calling the judge “unhinged” and a “Trump-hating radical left, Democrat operative.”

Engoron has responded by slapping Trump with $15,000 in fines for violating a partial gag order imposed after he bashed the judge’s clerk on social media.

Trump’s testimony follows that of his sons Don Jr. and Eric, who took the stand final week and blamed accountants for any inaccuracies within the monetary statements of the corporate.

According to The Washington Post, the final former president to testify publicly as a defendant was Theodore Roosevelt, who took the stand throughout a 1915 libel trial.

Trump has already given testimony twice in connection with this case, each instances in closed-door depositions.

First of a number of trials

Trump and his sons don’t threat going to jail, however withstand $250 million in penalties and potential elimination from the administration of the household firm.

Even earlier than opening arguments, Engoron dominated that James’s workplace had already proven “conclusive evidence” that Trump had overstated his web price on monetary paperwork by between $812 million and $2.2 billion between 2014 and 2021.

As a consequence, the judge ordered the liquidation of the businesses managing the property in query, such because the Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street skyscrapers in Manhattan.

That order is on maintain pending attraction, however its probably sweeping penalties spotlight the excessive stakes for the previous president.

The tycoon’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who left the Trump Organization in 2017 to grow to be a White House advisor, shouldn’t be a codefendant within the case however has additionally been ordered to testify, presumably as quickly as Wednesday.

The civil fraud trial is considered one of a number of authorized battles Trump faces as he seeks to recapture the presidency.

In March, Trump — who was impeached twice whereas in workplace — faces a trial on costs that he conspired to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election, which he misplaced to President Joe Biden.

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