"Control Your Client!" Fireworks Erupt As Trump, Judge And Lawyer Have Courtroom Spat During Civil Fraud Trial

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Nov 06, 2023 - 07:04 PM

Update (1400ET): The virulent anti-Trump judge overseeing the former President's New York real estate case popped a gasket during Monday testimony - for which no cameras were allowed.

The trial concerns claims that Trump inappropriately inflated the value of his real-estate holdings in order to obtain commercial loans and insurance policies.

The prosecution began with Attorney General Kevin Wallace asking Trump to confirm that he was head of the Trump organization between May 1, 1981 and Jan. 19, 2017, to which Trump replied that Wallace was among "every Democratic district attorney, attorney general and US Attorney who were coming after me from fifteen sides, all different cases, all Trump haters, all cases that are not good. Weaponization."

Trump then testified that banks didn't actually care about his statements of financial condition.

"They just weren’t a very important element in banks’ decision-making process. and we’ll explain that as this trial goes along, as this crazy trial goes along," he said, drawing a rebuke from Judge Arthur Engoron - who told the former president to "just answer the questions, no speeches."

Trump's lawyer spoke up, saying that Wallace is asking "questions that call for narratives."

"Can you control your client?"

Trump then claimed that he added millions in value due to his brand.

"I became president because of my brand," he said, to which Engoron asked defense lawyer Christopher Kise, "Can you control your client?"

"The former and soon-to-be chief executive of the United States understands the rules," replied Kise. "But he doesn’t abide by them," the judge shot back.

Engoron then threatened to boot Trump off the stand twice, saying "We are not here to hear what he has to say ... We are here to hear him answer the questions. And most of the time he’s not."

Trump lawyer Alina Habba responded that the court was indeed here to hear what Trump had to say.

"Sit down already!" Engoron ejaculated, to which Trump said "This is a very very unfair trial."

After a 15-minute recess, Trump said that he wasn't involved in preparing his organization's 2021 statement of financial condition because he was too busy "keeping our country safe" at the time.

"My threshold was China, Russia," he said. "But, just for the record, you weren’t president in 2021?" asked the deputy AG. "No, I wasn’t," Trump replied.

Trump also mocked Engoron's Sept. 26 pre-trial ruling that he committed fraud in valuing his properties - calling the Judge's decision itself "fraudulent," and saying of AG Letitia James "the fraud is her!"

"I think it’s fraudulent, the decision, the fraud is on the court, not me," Trump said angrily. "He called me a fraud and didn’t even know anything about me!"

So, things are going about as expected.

*  *  *

Authored by Michael Washburn via The Epoch Times,

After weeks of tumultuous and bitter testimony and cross-examination in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s civil lawsuit against members of the Trump family, the star witness is expected to take the stand when the trial resumes at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Amer’s highly aggressive questioning of Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump on the witness stand last week was a prelude to what looks sure to be the most intensive, closely watched phase of the trial. Former President Donald Trump will appear in the civil court building at 111 Centre Street in Manhattan to testify about the truthfulness of valuations of Trump family assets in financial statements provided to Deutsche Bank and other lenders.

The former president’s sons gave lengthy testimony on the mornings of Nov. 1, Nov. 2, and Nov. 3 on often overlapping subjects. The prosecutor went over financial documents and records in painstaking detail, seeking answers from the brothers as to whether they recognized certain letters, emails, and financial statements and whether they had knowingly approved the presentation of such items to the banks for the purpose of obtaining loans on terms highly favorable to the Trump family and The Trump Organization.

Mr. Amer repeatedly grew frustrated with the brothers' tendency to qualify their answers and demanded that they reply to his questions with a “yes” or “no.” Justice Arthur Engoron largely supported Mr. Amer in his efforts to obtain simple answers, and the judge’s perceived favoritism toward the prosecution led to a prolonged argument with Trump lawyer Christopher Kise on the afternoon of Nov. 2 and the morning of Nov. 3.

Former President Donald Trump (R) appears in the courtroom with attorney Christopher M. Kise for the third day of his civil fraud trial at the New York State Supreme Court in New York City on Oct. 4, 2023. (Mary Altafeer/Pool/Getty Images)

At many points throughout the proceedings, the brothers minimized their role in the preparation of the statements of financial condition and other documents and records and said they trusted the professional accountants and financial experts who prepared such items. Although the documents bear their signatures, they were merely acting in accordance with legal advice from people inside and outside the Trump business empire whose job was to run numbers and come up with valuations.

In essence, the brothers acknowledged their authority within The Trump Organization while portraying their role as the rubber-stamping of documents containing figures and valuations that others had compiled.

Typical of the cross-examination was a moment on Nov. 2, when Eric Trump told Mr. Amer that “people ask me questions all the time, but I never had anything to do with a statement of financial condition.”

Then, a bit later in his testimony, he said: “We had an accounting department that would sometimes work with outside entities. I did not work on a statement of financial condition; I’ve been very clear about that.”

Questions for the Former President

Mr. Amer often pursued an indirect route to getting the information he wanted, asking one of the Trump brothers a question that a third-party financial professional assigned to a given project or the former president himself might be in a better position to answer.

At one point, he asked Eric Trump whether the witness had seen one of his father’s financial statements from August 2013. At such times, Eric Trump often alluded to the sheer amount of time that had passed and said he didn't recall the details of the document or figures he was pressed about.

He denied his involvement in appraisal work on properties and said repeatedly that Sheri Dillon, who's now an attorney with the law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius, handled the minutiae of such matters.

The brothers didn't dispute their agency as executives of The Trump Organization with a significant amount of latitude when it came to signing documents whose preparation they had entrusted to others. But they fell short of claiming oversight of properties and assets that fall under their father’s ownership.

Hence, the questioning of Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump may have been a long warm-up for the most critical phase of the trial, when questions about who was ultimately answerable for representations made to powerful financial institutions, and for any real or alleged inflations of the value of Trump family assets, will be front and center throughout the testimony.

President Trump is expected to take the stand as soon as the new phase of the trial begins on Nov. 6.