Court Reprimands Trump for Lengthy Responses During Fraud Hearing: ‘This Is Not a Political Rally’

by Lucas Garcia
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Trump NY fraud trial

During the civil fraud trial involving former President Donald Trump, the overseeing judge cautioned him to be succinct with his testimony, highlighting the legal nature of the proceedings by stating, “This is not a political rally.” Trump, who is also a prominent candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, faced allegations in the courtroom of significantly exaggerating his wealth.

Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron expressed frustration over time management during the session. “We don’t have time to waste. We have one day to do this,” he stated, signaling his impatience. He further criticized Trump’s testimony as being “non-responsive” and “repetitive.”

In the spotlight of the trial, Trump is navigating the intersections of his business identity and political ambitions. Currently, he is simultaneously dealing with criminal indictments and preparing for a potential 2024 presidential run. The legal constraints of his testimony, coupled with the scrutiny of a judge who has previously penalized him for provocative remarks outside the court, poses a significant risk to Trump, who is renowned for his unrestrained approach to public speaking.

Further Reading on Trump’s Trial:

  • The quest for a Floridian president remains unfulfilled as Trump and DeSantis compete for the title.
  • Insights into Trump’s defense strategy for his real estate holdings can be gleaned from his past depositions.
  • An appeals court has temporarily lifted Trump’s gag order, allowing him to contest the imposed limitations on his speech.

The dynamic between Judge Engoron and Trump, already strained from a previous $10,000 fine for Trump’s contentious public comments, was apparent as the former president was consistently rebuked for the nature of his responses.

Engoron, addressing Trump’s attorney Christopher Kise, who has had his own disputes with the judge, remarked, “Mr. Kise, can you control your client? This is not a political rally. This is a courtroom.”

He also declared, “I do not want to hear everything this witness has to say. He has a lot to say that has nothing to do with the case or the questions.”

Former President Donald Trump, accompanied by his defense lawyers, Alina Habba and Chris Kiss, was seen at the New York Supreme Court on October 25, 2023, in New York. He approached the witness stand with deliberation, adjusting his suit as he prepared for a rigorous line of questioning. The New York Attorney General’s lawsuit charges him and his corporation with inflating property values and misleading banks and insurers to secure advantageous business transactions and loans.

Like his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who testified previously, the elder Trump minimized his role in the creation and review of financial statements, which are at the heart of the alleged fraud. “All I did was authorize and tell people to give whatever is necessary for the accountants to do the statements,” Trump stated, acknowledging that while he would review and occasionally suggest changes, he believed the documents held little weight with banks due to a disclaimer that essentially advised recipients to make their own assessments.

Trump challenged the relevance of his 2014 financial statements within the lawsuit, asserting they should be exempt due to statutes of limitations and criticizing Judge Engoron for permitting the prosecution to reference such dated records.

“You can attack me in whichever way you want but please answer the questions,” responded Engoron after Trump’s critiques.

Trump is no stranger to the courtroom at 60 Centre St. Having already observed much of the trial from the defense table, Trump had previously testified unexpectedly following allegations that he breached a partial gag order—an action for which he was fined by Judge Engoron despite his objections.

Trump’s historical pattern of extensive legal depositions and court testimonies provide some perspective on his likely approach to questioning. Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-serving attorney, highlighted that the stakes of current legal challenges, especially the case led by the New York Attorney General, threaten Trump’s business and personal finances in an unprecedented manner. Furthermore, Trump’s looming criminal cases, which include charges of improper hush money payments, attempts to overturn the 2020 election results, and mishandling documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate, pose serious threats to his liberty.

Contributions to this report were made by Eric Tucker in Washington and Jennifer Peltz in New York for Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Trump civil fraud trial

What was the nature of the judge’s remarks to Trump during his civil fraud trial?

Judge Arthur Engoron urged former President Donald Trump to provide concise answers during his testimony, reminding him that the setting was a legal proceeding, not a political rally. Trump was repeatedly rebuked for giving lengthy and unrelated answers, leading to the judge’s exasperation.

Why is Donald Trump’s 2014 financial statement significant in the civil fraud trial?

The 2014 financial statement is a focal point in the civil fraud trial because it is one of the documents where Trump and his company are accused of inflating property values to deceive banks and insurers. Trump has argued that this statement is outdated and should be irrelevant to the case.

What legal risks does Trump face with his testimony?

During his testimony, Trump faces the risk of legal repercussions if his responses are found to be untruthful or if they contradict evidence. Given the under-oath nature of the testimony and previous fines for incendiary comments, there is a clear risk for Trump, particularly with his history of unrestrained public speaking.

How did Trump respond to the allegations of inflated financial statements?

Trump downplayed his direct involvement with the financial statements in question, asserting that he merely authorized the necessary information for the accountants and occasionally reviewed and suggested modifications to them. He also argued that the banks found the statements irrelevant due to a disclaimer clause.

More about Trump civil fraud trial

  • [Trump’s Civil Fraud Trial]
  • [Judge Engoron’s Courtroom Remarks]
  • [Trump’s Testimony and Legal Strategies]
  • [Trump’s Political Ambitions and Legal Challenges]
  • [New York Attorney General’s Lawsuit Against Trump]
  • [Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump’s Testimony]
  • [Trump’s 2014 Financial Statements Controversy]
  • [Trump’s Previous Legal Depositions]

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