Donald Trump decries political motivation in criminal cases, judge tells lawyer to ’control him or...’

Civil Fraud Case: Former US President Donald Trump reportedly said in a court that the prosecutors are “all Democrats, all Trump haters, in all cases they’re not good, inappropriate and not good”.

Livemint
First Published6 Nov 2023, 10:37 PM IST
Former US president Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential election.
Former US president Donald Trump is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential election.

Former US President Donald Trump decried political motivation of his multiple criminal cases as he testified in the civil fraud case on Monday. As he took the witness stand to testify in the civil fraud case, the former president "railed against the many prosecutors bringing cases against him"

Trump was quoted by the Guardian as saying that the prosecutors are "all Democrats, all Trump haters, in all cases they’re not good, inappropriate and not good". 

According to Reuters, Trump repeatedly said the case is "witch hunt" and has accused Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James of being politically biased against him.

The former president was seemingly irritable when he was asked about financial documents from approximately one decade ago. Trump’s alleged inflation of real estate assets is at the heart of his civil fraud trial, the report said.

On several occasions during the hearing on Monday, the judge and Kevin Wallace, who is questioning Trump for the New York Attorney General’s Office, asked Trump's attorney to "control his client".

ALSO READ: Donald Trump's business empire under threat as New York fraud trial opens

When state attorney Kevin Wallace asked Trump about the document, Trump insisted that others would be exempt from scrutiny for a document this old. "But I’m probably not, because I’m sure the judge will rule against me, because he always rules against me," he was quoted as syaing.

The judge objected to Trump's statement and asked his Trump's attorney, Christopher Kise, "...was that comment necessary part of the narrative in answering the question."

Later, as Trump continued to testify, the judge said, "Mr Kise, can you control your client?...This is not a political rally. This is a courtroom."

Trump further said that if he wanted to inflate his assets on financial statements, he could have done it just by using his name. “The most valuable asset was the brand value,” he said. “If you look at the companies, the brand value is a very big part of the asset value of the company," he was quoted by the report as saying.

“I became president because of my brand,” Trump also said, adding, "I sell books at levels that are incredible because of my brand.”

ALSO READ: New York Attorney General's office accuses Donald Trump of inflating $2.2 Billion in a year

Trump said he was too “busy” as president to review a financial document related to real estate valuation. “My threshold was China, Russia, and keeping our country safe," he said when he was asked, "Were you involved in the preparation of the 2021 statement?"

Soon, the judge reportedly lost his patience with Trump repeatedly failing to answer questions and again urged lawyer Chris Kise to “control him” and warning “if you can’t, I will; I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can.”

Unlike the four criminal cases Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, faces, this civil trial does not threaten to put him in prison as he mounts a comeback White House bid.

What else Trump said in court?

Donald Trump testified that his company did not provide accurate estimates of many of his properties.

The former US president said 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 minimise the importance of the estimates, which state lawyers said were inflated to win better financing terms.

"It wasn't important. You’ve made it important, but it wasn’t," Trump said of the estimates.

Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled those estimates to be fraudulent. New York state lawyers argued in their lawsuit that the estimates misled lenders and insurers, earning him $100 million and exaggerating his wealth by $2 billion.

What's the civil fraud case?

Donald Trump and his family business currently face trial in New York to determine how much they owe in penalties after a judge found they inflated the former US president’s assets by billions of dollars to secure more favorable loan and insurance terms, Reuters reported.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in fines, as well as restrictions that would prevent Trump and his sons Eric and Donald Jr. from doing business in their home state.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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First Published:6 Nov 2023, 10:37 PM IST
HomeNewsworldDonald Trump decries political motivation in criminal cases, judge tells lawyer to ’control him or...’

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