On Monday, the judge in the quarter billion dollar case that threatens Donald Trump’s real estate business in New York warned the former president that he would toss him out of court if he continued to make speeches from the witness stand.
On Monday morning, Trump, 77, began testifying in the Manhattan Supreme Court and spent the first hour giving what Justice Arthur Engoron called “long-winded responses” to “yes or no questions.”
Engoron told Trump’s attorneys to try to keep him under control if possible. The judge added, “If you can’t, I will.”
With the 2024 Republican frontrunner for president repeatedly interjecting his thoughts on the case during Trump’s testimony, tensions in the Lower Manhattan courtroom were high from the start.
After initial comments from Engoron that New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office lawyer, Kevin Wallace, was “being very patient” despite some of Trump’s evasive replies, tensions began to rise.
Wallace questioned Trump, dressed in a dark blue suit and light blue tie, if his “statement of financial status” from 2014 was “true and truthful.” Trump replied, “I hope so.”
The AG’s lawsuit contends that from 2011 through 2021, Trump overstated his assets by billions a year on these declarations of financial status to acquire an edge on loan and insurance terms.
When asked about them, Trump responded variously, saying things like “Well, let’s see” and “I think so.”
At one point, Trump glared at the judge and made a sarcastic face, claiming that Engoron “always rules against” him.
If you want to insult me, go ahead, but you must answer the questions, the judge snapped.
Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, argued that her client should be allowed to give lengthy answers like Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer,” gave two weeks ago. Even Habba chimed in, telling Wallace to pose “better questions.”
“This is a very unjust trial,” Trump chimed in, “And I certainly hope the general public is tuning in.”