Former President Donald Trump took the stand in a New York courtroom, testifying in a pivotal $250 million civil fraud case that threatens his business empire. Sworn in as the court commenced, Trump quickly launched into a tirade against Kevin Wallace, the lawyer from Attorney General Letitia James’ office, accusing him and Democrats of targeting him from “15 different sides… all haters.”
Trump’s testimony unfolds before Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron, whom he has lambasted on Truth Social as “crazy, totally unhinged, and dangerous,” a “Trump hating judge,” and a “disgrace to the legal profession.” Trump’s posts have been incendiary, calling for Engoron to be “thrown off the ‘Bench’ as a giant Embarrassment to New York State!”
The courtroom tension escalated when Engoron reprimanded Trump for evasive answers, prompting Trump to retort, “The judge will rule against me because he will always rule against me.” Engoron countered, urging Trump to focus on the questions. Amid further digressions, Engoron implored Trump’s lawyers to rein him in, reminding them, “This is not a political rally.”
Engoron, who will single-handedly determine the trial’s outcome, warned Trump of drawing negative inferences if he continued to dodge questions. Trump, feeling aggrieved, declared, “This is a very unfair trial, very unfair. I hope the public is watching,” following Engoron’s insistence on direct answers.
Post-break, Trump briefly regained focus but veered off course when discussing his 2021 financial statement. He justified his inattention to detail, citing his preoccupation with national security during his presidency. Wallace redirected him, emphasizing the question’s relevance to property value.
Trump also seized the opportunity to allege that the AG’s office undervalued his Mar-a-Lago resort. Contrasting the Palm Beach County assessor’s appraisal of $18 million to $27.6 million with his balance sheet’s $426 million to $612 million valuation, Trump asserted the actual worth was “50 to 100 times” higher, dismissing the AG’s figures as “absolutely crazy.”
The trial has garnered significant attention, with a packed courtroom and a throng of photographers marking the trial’s highest turnout. Among the spectators were friends of the judge and his clerk, eager to witness a historic moment.
Trump’s previous sworn testimony in August 2022, where he invoked the Fifth Amendment nearly 450 times, has already complicated his defense in the ongoing case.