The virulent anti-Trump judge overseeing the former President’s New York real estate case popped a gasket during Monday testimony – for which no cameras were allowed.
The trial concerns claims that Trump inappropriately inflated the value of his real-estate holdings in order to obtain commercial loans and insurance policies.
The prosecution began with Attorney General Kevin Wallace asking Trump to confirm that he was head of the Trump organization between May 1, 1981 and Jan. 19, 2017, to which Trump replied that Wallace was among “every Democratic district attorney, attorney general and US Attorney who were coming after me from fifteen sides, all different cases, all Trump haters, all cases that are not good. Weaponization.”
Trump then testified that banks didn’t actually care about his statements of financial condition.
“They just weren’t a very important element in banks’ decision-making process. and we’ll explain that as this trial goes along, as this crazy trial goes along,” he said, drawing a rebuke from Judge Arthur Engoron – who told the former president to “just answer the questions, no speeches.”
Trump’s lawyer spoke up, saying that Wallace is asking “questions that call for narratives.”
“Can you control your client?”
Trump then claimed that he added millions in value due to his brand.
“I became president because of my brand,” he said, to which Engoron asked defense lawyer Christopher Kise, “Can you control your client?”
“The former and soon-to-be chief executive of the United States understands the rules,” replied Kise. “But he doesn’t abide by them,” the judge shot back.
Engoron then threatened to boot Trump off the stand twice, saying “We are not here to hear what he has to say … We are here to hear him answer the questions. And most of the time he’s not.”
Kise: “I’d urge the court to take in all information possible ….You have on the stand a candidate for president of the United States; the most efficient way to get through this is to listen to what he has to say … about what happened and why there’s no intent to mislead anyone.…
— Lisa Rubin (@lawofruby) November 6, 2023
Trump lawyer Alina Habba responded that the court was indeed here to hear what Trump had to say.
“Sit down already!” Engoron ejaculated, to which Trump said “This is a very very unfair trial.”
After a 15-minute recess, Trump said that he wasn’t involved in preparing his organization’s 2021 statement of financial condition because he was too busy “keeping our country safe” at the time.
“My threshold was China, Russia,” he said. “But, just for the record, you weren’t president in 2021?” asked the deputy AG. “No, I wasn’t,” Trump replied.
Trump also mocked Engoron’s Sept. 26 pre-trial ruling that he committed fraud in valuing his properties – calling the Judge’s decision itself “fraudulent,” and saying of AG Letitia James “the fraud is her!”
“I think it’s fraudulent, the decision, the fraud is on the court, not me,” Trump said angrily. “He called me a fraud and didn’t even know anything about me!”
So, things are going about as expected.