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Woman Detained for Approaching Trump During New York Fraud Trial; Claims to Be a Supporter

by Lucas Garcia
10 comments
Contempt of Court

An onlooker at Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial was taken into custody on Wednesday for rising from her seat during testimony and advancing towards the front of the courtroom, in proximity to the former president.

The court clarified that neither Trump nor any other individual present at the trial was put at risk by the woman’s actions. Trump, who is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, did not show any response in court and later indicated to journalists that he was unaware of the incident.

“Who was arrested?” inquired Trump. “I was not informed of the situation.”

The woman, subsequently revealed to be an employee of the court system, retreated to her seat when instructed by a court officer. She was later escorted out and apprehended on charges of contempt for causing a disruption during the legal proceedings, according to court spokesperson Lucian Chalfen.

Chalfen reported that although the woman had vocally expressed her intent to assist Trump, journalists in the courtroom did not observe her raising her voice. She was subsequently heard loudly protesting in the courthouse lobby as officers escorted her out.

Outside the courtroom, captured on an NBC camera, the woman told court officers, “I have the right to be here. I am an American citizen and also an employee of the court. I am here merely to support Donald Trump.”

She further claimed to have been “peacefully observing the trial” and stated that she had complied with a court officer’s request to cease causing “any further disruptions.”

Chalfen stated that the woman, whose identity was not disclosed, is currently on administrative leave and is prohibited from entering state courts pending an investigation.

Meanwhile, the trial proceeded, marked by another irregular incident when Trump appeared visibly frustrated and engaged in a heated discussion with his legal team as real estate appraiser Doug Larson testified about interactions with a Trump company executive.

State attorney Kevin Wallace asked Judge Arthur Engoron to request the defense to “cease making comments during witness testimony,” adding that such “remarks” were audible to witnesses. The judge subsequently advised all present to lower their voices, “especially if intended to influence the testimony.”

The case, initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleges that Trump and his organization deceived banks and insurers by providing exaggerated statements of Trump’s financial worth and assets. Judge Engoron has already found Trump and his company guilty of fraud; however, the trial aims to address remaining accusations of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and the falsification of business records.

James argues that Trump’s financial statements were crucial in securing various business deals and loans, corroborated by evidence and witness testimony.

For instance, a proposal in 2015 to refinance a Trump-owned building on Wall Street specified the “submission of financial statements (including tax returns)” from Trump, as evidenced by court documents.

While this transaction was under negotiation, the Trump Organization sent paper copies of Trump’s financial declarations and personal tax returns to prospective lender Ladder Capital, testified Ladder executive Jack Weisselberg.

Trump categorically denies all allegations made by James. He contends that his assets are significantly more valuable than stated in his financial documents, which carry disclaimers he says were meant to prompt verification by third parties.

The outcome of the case will be determined by Judge Engoron, as state law disallows jury trials for such lawsuits.

As Trump attended the trial voluntarily for the fifth day, his lawyers worked to counter the state’s claims that his senior corporate executives manipulated property values to artificially inflate his net worth.

During questioning, Trump’s attorney Lazaro Fields aimed to show that Larson had underestimated the 2015 value of the Wall Street office building by $114 million. Larson responded that the “values were not incorrect—based on the information available at the time.”

The trial also witnessed contentious exchanges between the defense and the prosecution, with accusations of lying and witness intimidation.

Amid a courtroom recess, Trump claimed that “the government has lied,” adding that the case against him was a politically motivated attack orchestrated by James and other Democrats.

Outside the courtroom, James asserted that Trump’s “theatrical behavior will not impact the ongoing legal proceedings.”

“I will remain steadfast in my pursuit of justice and law enforcement,” she said.

Judge Engoron, a Democrat, has imposed a limited gag order, prohibiting trial participants from making disparaging comments about his staff, following an incident where Trump criticized the judge’s law clerk on social media.

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Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News writer Jill Colvin.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Woman Arrested at Trump Fraud Trial

What led to the arrest of a woman during Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial?

The woman was arrested for standing up during testimony and walking towards the front of the courtroom where Donald Trump was seated. She was later identified as an employee of the court system.

Did Donald Trump react to the incident?

No, Donald Trump showed no reaction during the incident and later told reporters that he was unaware of what had transpired.

What charges were leveled against the woman?

The woman was arrested on a contempt charge for disrupting a court proceeding, according to court spokesperson Lucian Chalfen.

What did the woman claim was her reason for approaching Trump?

The woman expressed her desire to aid or support Donald Trump. She was heard saying that she had the right to be there as an American citizen and also as an employee of the court system.

What is the ongoing case against Donald Trump?

The case is a civil fraud trial initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James. It accuses Trump and his organization of providing misleading financial statements to banks and insurers, with remaining claims involving conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records.

Who is presiding over the trial?

Judge Arthur Engoron is presiding over the trial, and he has already ruled that Trump and his company committed fraud. The trial aims to address remaining accusations.

What happened after the woman was arrested?

The woman, whose identity was not disclosed, has been placed on administrative leave and is prohibited from entering state courts while authorities investigate the incident.

How did the other participants in the courtroom react to the woman’s actions?

State lawyer Kevin Wallace asked the judge to request the defense to cease making comments during witness testimony. The judge advised all present to keep their voices down, especially if intended to influence the testimony.

What did the New York Attorney General Letitia James say about the ongoing case?

Letitia James said outside the courtroom that Trump’s behavior, described as performative, will not impact the legal proceedings. She remains steadfast in her pursuit of justice and law enforcement.

Are there any restrictions on participants speaking about the case outside of court?

Yes, Judge Arthur Engoron has issued a limited gag order, barring trial participants from making disparaging comments about members of his staff.

More about Woman Arrested at Trump Fraud Trial

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10 comments

LeoV October 19, 2023 - 12:11 am

This trial just keeps delivering on the entertainment front, if nothing else. Cant wait to see what happens next.

Reply
SteveB October 19, 2023 - 4:18 am

So Trump says his assets are worth even more? Why am I not surprised, he never admits to anything.

Reply
EmilyR October 19, 2023 - 7:56 am

Judge Engoron has his hands full, that’s for sure. Balancing the trial and all these disruptions can’t be easy.

Reply
AnnaL October 19, 2023 - 8:49 am

letitia James is not backing down, is she? Kudos to her for holding her ground.

Reply
NancyO October 19, 2023 - 11:25 am

Gag orders are there for a reason. Smart move by the judge, it’s getting too rowdy in there.

Reply
Mike_87 October 19, 2023 - 3:59 pm

I dont know, guys. The trial’s about fraud n all but the whole thing seems kinda like a media spectacle to me.

Reply
JohnDoe October 19, 2023 - 4:22 pm

Wow, can’t believe someone would actually try to approach Trump like that in the middle of a trial. What was she thinking?

Reply
RobertK October 19, 2023 - 6:39 pm

Administrative leave huh, guess that’s the end of the line for the court employee. What a way to mess up your career.

Reply
TimH October 19, 2023 - 7:08 pm

Anyone else curious about what this episode might mean for the trial’s outcome? It’s like a movie script at this point.

Reply
SaraM October 19, 2023 - 8:53 pm

Honestly, this trial is already a circus. Didnt expect any less drama, but a court employee getting arrested? That’s a whole new level.

Reply

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