New York, NY .-
Donald Trump on Monday repeatedly clashed with the judge in his civil trial for fraud, with the former United States president angrily accusing Arthur Engoron of ruling against him “without knowing anything about” him. Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that the former US president committed fraud by over-valuing Trump Organization assets in order to secure loans. And the trial is being held to decide what the punishment should be, with prosecutors asking for a $250m penalty.
Testifying on the witness stand, Trump repeatedly refused to answer questions succinctly, launching into what the judge called “speeches”. During a heated session, the judge warned Trump’s lawyers to “control” the former president. “If you can’t, I will. I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can,” Engoron said. Later, after Engoron had admonished Trump for again claiming – erroneously – that a so-called “disclaimer clause” on his financial statements shielded him from legal repercussions, the former president angrily railed against the judge.
“He ruled against me and said I was a fraud without knowing anything about me. He called me a fraud and he didn’t know anything about me,” Trump said. “The fraud is on behalf of the court!” he continued. “He says that I’m a fraud…he’s the one that didn’t value property correctly.” “How do you rule against somebody and call them a fraud, as the president of the United States who did a great job,” Trump said.
The judge also forcefully ordered one of Trump’s lawyers, Alina Habba, to “sit down” when she implied that Engoron should listen to Trump’s lengthy responses. That exchange prompted Trump to say “this is a very very unfair trial and I hope the public is watching.” The former president was less combative when the court resumed in the afternoon after a break. The trial will resume on Wednesday, when Trump’s daughter Ivanka will take the witness stand. EFE