Former President Donald Trump turned combative on the stand in his business fraud trial on Monday. The former president lambasted Justice Arthur Engoron, the judge in the case, from the stand. The former president’s questioning of the judge’s impartiality, and that of his clerk, who appeared in a photo with Senate Majority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer, earned him a gag order.
Trump slammed Engoron’s pretrial rulings including the final one finding that he had fraudulently overvalued his Trump Tower penthouse and Mar-a-Lago “very stupid.” Engoron ruled that the Trump Organization and its associated entities had inflated their property values to obtain favorable tax and insurance benefits.
Trump Attacks Judge and AG From Witness Stand
“It’s a terrible thing you’ve done. You know nothing about me,” Trump said to Engoron, while glaring at New York Attorney General Letitia James, who ran for office in 2018 vowing to get Trump, from the witness stand. “You believe that political hack back there.”
James seeks to have a $250 million penalty imposed on the former president and his sons.
“We have a disclaimer clause that says do your own due diligence, don’t under any circumstances count on anything in here,” Trump said. He claimed the financial statements were misconstrued by the judge, “If you were borrowing money … they were not really documents that the banks paid much attention to. They looked at the deal, they looked at the asset … but these were not very important.”
Engoron shot back at Trump.
“No, no, no,” Engoron said. “We’re not going to hear about the disclaimer clause. If you want to hear about the disclaimer clause, read my opinion again — or for the first time, perhaps.”
The judge became incensed that Trump made it personal with him instead of answering questions posed to him by the lawyer from the New York Attorney General’s office. He demanded that Trump’s attorney Chris Kise get a hold of his client and force him to answer the questions being posed to him.
“If you can’t, I will,” the judge said. “I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can.”
Engoron continued, “This is not a political rally. This is a courtroom.”
Trump Defies Gag Order Again, Slams Engoron and James
Trump continued to disregard the gag order and lambasted Engoron and James on TruthSocial over the requirement that Ivanka Trump testify. Trump wrote:
“Peekaboo James, the Corrupt and Racist New York State Attorney General, who has allowed Murder and Violent Crime in New York to flourish, and a Trump Hating, out of control Clubhouse appointed Judge, Arthur Engoron, who viciously ruled against me before the trial even started, wouldn’t even consider a Jury, and said that Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, is worth $18,000,000 when, in fact, it is worth 50 to 100 times that amount. Other properties likewise. Based on this information, which is so ridiculous, he said that I was a Fraud, when in fact it is Letitia James and the Judge who are Fraudulent for setting such LOW VALUATIONS in order to undermine and discredit my Financial Statements, thereby making me look bad – Election Interference! Now they are trying to bring Ivanka into the case, despite the Court of Appeals ruling that she cannot be charged. Sad!”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.