Donald Trump clashes judge heated New York testimony
Trump testifies in civil fraud trial, clashing with judge and defending business. Prosecutors seek $250m fine and business restrictions. Case continues.
Former President Donald Trump appeared in a civil fraud trial in New York where he testified for almost four hours, disputing claims that he deceived banks and defending his family's business. The trial will determine the penalties for the Trump Organization, which has already been ruled to have committed fraud. Prosecutors are seeking a $250 million fine and severe business restrictions. During his time on the witness stand, Trump was asked about the value of various properties, including his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago, Trump Tower in New York, and his golf course in Scotland. These properties are at the center of the trial, as prosecutors allege they were intentionally overvalued in order to secure better loans and insurance policies.
Trump, who is the current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, stood by the valuations and said that the property values were bolstered by his personal brand, which he claimed was never factored into the financial statements. New York Attorney General Letitia James brought the lawsuit, accusing Trump, along with his sons Eric and Donald Jr and other Trump Organization executives, of deliberately inflating company assets for years. All parties deny any wrongdoing. Trump's time on the stand was marked by heated exchanges and lengthy responses, prompting rebukes from Judge Arthur Engoron. The judge could ultimately decide the outcome of the trial and impose a multi-million dollar fine, as well as strip the defendants of the ability to do business in New York.
After Trump's testimony, legal and political analysts suggested that his combative approach on the stand was a considered strategy. Some analysts believe that Trump's legal team believes they have already lost and are trying to spin a very bad result. The judge has already fined Trump $15,000 for comments made outside of court last month. This civil case in New York is one of several legal battles in which Trump is embroiled, including four criminal indictments. Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is expected to give evidence in the trial as well.