Former President Donald Trump was admonished by a New York state Supreme Court judge on Monday after Trump repeatedly lobbed attacks and launched into political diatribes instead of answering questions from a lawyer from the New York attorney general’s office.
Trump’s outbursts took place on the witness stand in his civil fraud trial on charges brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James that the former president inflated the value of his company’s assets in order to obtain better loan and insurance rates.
Trump repeatedly attacked Judge Arthur Engoron and answered questions as if he was speaking at a campaign rally rather than providing direct responses to Kevin Wallace, a lawyer in James’ office.
Trump lashed out at James and Engoron, saying that Engoron “believed this political hack back there,” referring to James, who was seated in the courtroom.
At one point, Wallace had to remind Trump that he was not in office in 2021, after Trump said he was too busy to prepare his company financial statement that year because he was focused on “Russia and China and keeping our country safe.”
“I beseech you to control him if you can,” Engoron said to Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise. “If you can’t, I will. I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can.”
Engoron already ruled in September that Trump fraudulently inflated the value of his company’s assets, writing in his opinion that Trump’s financial statements “clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business.” The current trial is to determine the amount of the penalty Trump will have to pay. James is seeking a $250 million fine as well as a judicial order banning Trump from running any businesses in New York state, where the Trump Organization is headquartered.
It’s just one of a number of high-stakes legal battles Trump is facing.
Trump has been charged with 91 counts in four separate criminal cases in Florida, Georgia, New York, and Washington, D.C.
In Washington, Trump faces four federal charges connected with his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his attempt on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in that election. That trial is set to begin in March.
In Florida, he faces 40 federal charges of improperly handling classified documents and then obstructing the investigation into his handling of those documents. That trial is scheduled to begin in May.
If the trials begin as scheduled, Trump will be tied up defending himself against serious federal charges at the height of the Republican presidential primary.
A new New York Times/Siena College poll released on Sunday found that voters haven’t abandoned Trump over the criminal charges yet, but that they would if he were convicted. The poll found that if Trump were convicted, 49% of voters would cast ballots for Biden in the 2024 election while 39% would vote for Trump.