Trump’s Testy Testimony: Former President Spars with Judge on Witness Stand at New York Fraud Trial

Former President Donald Trump sparred with judge Arthur Engoron from the witness stand on Monday as Trump testified in his $250 million New York civil fraud trial.


Former President Donald Trump sparred with judge Arthur Engoron from the witness stand on Monday as Trump testified in his $250 million New York civil fraud trial.

  • Trump is taking the stand in a civil fraud trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The lawsuit poses a direct threat to Trump’s business empire, and should he be found guilty he could lose his New York business licenses or even control of some of his properties.
  • Trump testified that the Trump Organization did not provide accurate estimates of many of his properties. According to Reuters, Trump conceded that “his company undervalued his Mar-a-Lago estate and Doral golf course in Florida and overvalued his Trump Tower apartment, among other assets, but sought to minimize the importance of the estimates, which state lawyers said were inflated to win better financing terms.”
  • Engoron reminded Trump “this is not a political rally” and appeared to get more and more exasperated throughout the former President’s testimony. “We don’t have time to waste. We have one day to do this,” Engoron said, later complaining that Trump’s answers were “non-responsive” and “repetitive.”
  • “This is a very unfair trial,” Trump shot back at Engoron during one particularly tense episode. “I hope the public is watching,” he added. Engoron shouted at Trump attorney Alina Habba to sit down and did not take well to Trump’s jabs.
  • “I’m sure the judge will rule against me because he always rules against me,” said Trump during his testimony while his attorney Chris Kise pleaded for special treatment for his client. “I think you can afford the former president of the United States a little latitude,” said Kise.
  • Trump has testified in at least eight prior trials dating back to 1986, and questioned under oath in more than a dozen additional depositions or hearings.
  • In his previous legal proceedings, the Associated Press found Trump’s style when giving testimony to be similar to “his political verve: a mix of ego, charm, defensiveness, aggressiveness, sharp language and deflection. He has been combative and boastful, but sometimes vague and prone to hedging or being dismissive.”
  • The former President’s testimony follows that of two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who both testified last week. Ivanka Trump is set to take the stand later this week.
  • Although this New York trial is civil, not criminal, it could still carry significant repercussions for Trump’s business empire. New York Attorney General James is seeking to prevent Trump from doing business in New York State and to dissolve his companies.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times noted that while Trump’s legal troubles haven’t sunk his primary campaign, a felony conviction before the election could doom him in 2024. A recent New York Times poll found Trump leading Biden in most of the critical swing states, yet enough voters told the pollster they’d switch from Trump to Biden in the event of a conviction to sink Trump’s bid.
  • CNN observed that Engoron is asking Kise to “do something no one or no institution has ever been able to do”: “Control” Trump. As CNN noted, “The rules of politics, the conventions of the presidency, the constitutional checks on executive power and even the verdict of voters who turfed him out of office could not control Trump, impose upon him or change his behavior.”
  • According to the Washington Post, Trump’s testimony was a series of “long-winded responses that included political tangents. He said some properties were overvalued, such as his apartment in Trump Tower, while other properties were undervalued, such as 40 Wall Street, which Trump said derived its higher-than listed valuation from its potential to transition into residential apartments.”



  • The Wall Street Journal observed “the stakes are high” for Trump’s testimony. While the former President “will likely seek to defend his personal identity as a real-estate mogul and the professional practices with which he built his family business, any penalties for untruthful testimony could be significant.”
  • Fox News highlighted one potshot Trump took at the judge from the stand. Trump said Mar-a-Lago was valued at “$18 million, but it is worth 50 to 100 times more than that.” Trump continued, “”But the judge ruled against me…I don’t know how he got to those numbers.” He continued, “The most valuable asset was the brand asset, but I didn’t put it on the statement…If I wanted to build up a statement, like you said, I would have added the brand value here.”
  • National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy derided the trial as the “NY farce.” McCarthy wrote, “If you needed any more proof that the New York civil fraud trial against Donald Trump, his family, and his business is political theater choreographed by elected Democrats posing a law-enforcement and judicial officers, look no further than X/Twitter. There, on Sunday, Letitia James — the elected Democrat DA who campaigned for office, Lavrentiy Beria-style, vowing to get Trump on something — proclaimed: ‘Tomorrow, Donald Trump takes the stand in our trial against his fraudulent business. Trump can try to hide his wrondoings behind taunts and threats, but we will not be bullied out of uncovering the truth.’

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© Dominic Moore, 2023

2 comments On Trump’s Testy Testimony: Former President Spars with Judge on Witness Stand at New York Fraud Trial

  • If this is a crime, then Mrs. James should be charged for her property she sold in 2017 or 2018.

  • This whole circus is a disgrace to our courts, and the legal profession. President Trump has done nothing wrong yet is treated like a Adam Schiff or Nancy Pelosi or Hillary or Brandon should be treated because they are criminals. If you dim witts don’t see that the American people can’t see through this injustice to our president, you’re crazy. Even if y’all are successful in putting our great president behind bars, I will write him in on ballot if it comes to that.

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