Donald Trump testified in a New York court in a civil case against him regarding his business activities. CNN notes that the former president attacked both the judge and the state attorney general in his statements. The consequence of the trial, as described by Reuters, may be the weakening of Trump’s real estate empire.
State Attorney General Letitia James alleges Donald Trumphis adult children and the company repeating lies about their assets and net worth in order to obtain better terms on bank loans and insurance.
In her opinion, Trump overstated his net worth by $2.23 billion, and according to another method of calculation, it was as much as $3.6 billion. The frauds allegedly concerned, among others, the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, an apartment in Trump Tower in Manhattan and various office buildings and golf courses.
On Monday, Trump testified as a witness in a court in Manhattan, New York. Upon his arrival, he declared that the trial was a “political war” and maintained that there had been no fraud.
After testimony began, Judge Arthur Engoron admonished the former president: “Please only answer questions, no speeches.”
CNN’s website described that the first 45 minutes of testimony “passed largely without any problems,” but Trump continued to “intensify his political rhetoric,” repeating, among other things, that the case was a “witch hunt.”
During his testimony, Trump admitted that he had a hand in creating valuations of his assets. However, he claimed that, contrary to the prosecutor’s allegations, the valuations of some properties were too low and his defense was that the fine print in the documents stipulated that other institutions might arrive at different valuations. This is intended to prove that the Trump Organization did not intend to deceive contractors.
Fight with the judge, accusations against the prosecutor
The former president accused Judge Engoron and prosecutor James of political bias against him, and accused legal authorities of excessive interest in his cases after winning in elections presidential elections in 2016.
“I’m sure the judge will rule against me because he always rules against me,” he said. – This is a very unfair process – he added.
According to Politico, Trump at least at one point raised his voice at the judge, criticizing his earlier ruling that Trump and his company had committed fraud.
– He (the judge) called me a fraud and he doesn’t even know anything about me (…) It’s a terrible thing you did. You don’t know anything about me. You believe this political worker and that is unfortunate, said the former president, pointing to prosecutor James.
“Trump’s remarks were met with a sharp rebuke from Engoron, who threatened to shorten the time of his testimony,” Reuters describes. At one point, the judge admonished Chris Kise, one of Trump’s lawyers, to “control his client.” – If not, I will. I will ask him out and draw all the negative conclusions I can, he warned.
CNN journalists concluded that the former president’s “rhetoric, which appeared at times during his testimony, may well have occurred at one of his political rallies.”
After leaving the courtroom, Trump claimed that it was not he who committed fraud, but the court that allowed his case to go to trial. – To think that we are being sued and wasting all this time and money while people are being killed all over the world and this country could stop it, with inflation and all the other problems this country has. “I think it’s a disgrace,” he said.
The BBC notes that to date, Trump has not testified publicly in any other legal case against him.
Although the court has already determined that fraud occurred, the current trial will determine whether Trump and his company committed other specific acts and determine the punishment. His sons Eric and Donald Jr. (Eric formally heads the Trump Organization) testified before the former president in the trial, minimizing their participation in asset valuations.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JABIN BOTSFORD / POOL