During his civil fraud trial hearing on Monday, former President Donald Trump grew frustrated and openly criticized the judge and the New York Attorney General.
After providing his testimony in subdued tones for the past two hours, Trump displayed clear irritation and raised his voice, alleging that Justice Arthur Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James were attempting to harm him.
The former real estate mogul referred to James as a “political hack,” asserting that she was leveraging “this case to become governor” and that it was instrumental in her attainment of her current position.
Then Trump went after Engoron, pointing at the jurist and proclaiming, “Everybody’s watching this case. He called me a fraud, and he didn’t know anything about me.”
“The fraud is on the court and not on me,” he continued to rant.
“When you rule Mar-A-Lago is worth $18 million and she rules it’s worth $25 million, either people are very stupid or there’s a fraud. The fraud is on behalf of the court.”
In a pre-trial decision made just days before the trial commenced, Engoron held Trump accountable for some of the key fraud allegations brought by James. The judge referenced an appraisal by a Florida official, which valued the Palm Beach golf club at a maximum of $27 million, whereas Trump asserted its value to be as high as $1.5 billion.
“He said I’m a fraud because I didn’t value my property correctly,” Trump continued to loudly ramble. “He’s the one who didn’t rule my property correctly.”
Trump insisted he did a “great job” as president.
Finally, AG lawyer Kevin Wallace asked, “You’re done?”
“I’m done,” Trump responded.
At one moment, Judge Engoron threatened to throw Trump off the witness stand if he didn’t stop making speeches from it.
“Mr. Kise, that was a simple yes-or-no question,” Engoron said of Trump being asked about the accuracy of his 2014 financial statement.
“We got another speech,” the judge said. “I beseech you to control him if you can. If you can’t, I will. I will excuse him and use every negative inference that I can.”
Judge Engoron asked Trump’s lawyer to “control” the corrupt former president as he was testifying in his fraud trial:
"I beseech you to control him if you can. If you can’t, I will. I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can.” pic.twitter.com/Iq9yaEDJ0G
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) November 6, 2023
In the $250 million fraud case, Trump is offering testimony in defense of himself, along with his sons Don Jr. and Eric, and the Trump Organization. Letitia James, the Attorney General of New York, alleges that the fraudulent scheme persisted for decades.
Ivanka, Trump’s daughter, is set to provide her testimony on Wednesday as the final witness for the state’s case.
James asserts that the former president significantly exaggerated his wealth, potentially by as much as $3.6 billion annually.
At one point, Trump’s legal team alluded to him as the “leading candidate” for the United States presidency in the future. They referenced a recent poll published on Sunday by the New York Times and Siena College, which indicated that the leading Republican candidate for the 2024 elections was ahead of President Biden in five of the six critical swing states.
“The court should grant the former president of the US and, according to the New York Times this morning, perhaps the future president of the US some latitude,” lawyer Chris Kise told the judge.
Trump also downplayed the importance of the annual “statements of financial condition” that the suit says contained fraud.
“They were not really documents that the banks paid much attention to,” Trump testified on Monday.
“I’ve been dealing with banks for 50 years. I probably know banks as well as anybody,” he added in his remarks. “They look at the deal, they look at the location … they don’t want to get involved in financial statements.”