Trump during the trial – AP
He told the judge: “What you are doing is terrible. You know nothing about me.”
“They clashed verbally, face to face.” This is in summary what happened in former US President Donald Trump’s testimony before the judge, which lasted 4 hours, in which Trump described him as a hater of him. This testimony in the civil fraud trial on Monday quickly turned into a bitter fight with words, as Trump’s answers and anger prompted the judge to rebuke him repeatedly.
During the four hours he spent on the witness stand, the former president lost his temper and attacked the judge, criticized the person who would decide the fate of his business empire and called one of his pre-trial rulings “extremely stupid”.
Trump during the trial
According to Politico, Trump continually violated the judge’s instructions to provide short, direct answers to questions, and instead presented many of the political attacks Trump is known to publish during his campaign.
“What you are doing is terrible,” Trump told Judge Arthur Anghorn, “you know nothing about me.” “You know this is a political hack,” he added, glaring at New York Attorney General Tish James, who prosecuted the $250 million civil fraud case against Trump and his adult children in the Trump Organization.
In a crucial preliminary ruling, the judge found that Trump systematically inflated his balance sheet assets to obtain favorable conditions from banks and insurance companies. The judge will decide what sanctions Trump and his company will face.
Trump during the trial
Trump’s main defense, made publicly since the start of the trial and repeated during his testimony, is that his financial statements contained a disclaimer, a “very, very strong” statement, and therefore were not intended for use by banks or insurance companies.
“We have a disclaimer that says do your due diligence and do not under any circumstances rely on anything here,” Trump said.
As for the financial statements, Trump said, “If you were borrowing money, they really weren’t documents that the banks paid much attention to. They looked at the deal, they looked at the assets, but these documents weren’t very important.”
The judge replied: “No, no, no, we will not hear about the disclaimer. If you want to know the disclaimer, read my opinion again, or perhaps for the first time.” Trump responded by saying, “You think you’re wrong,” adding, “You called me a fraud and you knew nothing about me.”
Aside from Trump’s attacks, Judge Engoron did not respond to Trump’s attacks, but the judge became angry at several points when Trump apparently refused to answer questions posed to him by lawyers from the attorney general’s office.
Engoron to Trump lawyer Chris Case less than an hour after the former president’s turn on the witness stand: “Please check him if you can,” the judge said. If you can’t, I will. Negative inference that I can. ” “This is not a political demonstration. This is a courtroom,” he added.
Trump was in a somber mood from the start. On his way to court Monday morning, he described the case as a “political war” and said it was something that happens in “banana republics.”
With a frown and hunched shoulders, he took the stand, raised his right hand to take the oath and took the witness stand to face questions in what is just the latest chapter in a long line of legal troubles that Trump faces as he seeks to return to the White House.
It didn’t take long for Engoron to become frustrated with Trump’s repetitive and unhelpful answers.
Hours after his testimony, Trump attempted to read from a piece of paper he pulled from his pocket. “I would like to read this, Your Honor, if I may. May I do so?” When the judge said no, Trump joked: “I’m shocked, I’m shocked.”
On Sunday evening, Trump used his upcoming role on the witness stand as part of a fundraising effort, saying in a campaign email: “I am forced to appear as a witness tomorrow in a show trial in New York City where a very anti-me man is trying to impose a ‘corporate death penalty’ on me. And so is my family.”