“just yelled at the judge for a several minute stretch” while testifying on the stand at his New York civil fraud trial, Politico’s Erica Orden reported. Though the former president’s outburst led New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron to furrow his brow, he otherwise did not react.
Trump’s fury erupted after Engoron interrupted his tangent about a disclaimer clause included in his financial statements, which the former president has previously argued were intended to advise reviewers against trusting the accuracy of the listed asset valuations.
“No, no, no. We’re not going to hear about the disclaimer clause,” Engoron interjected. “If you want to hear about the disclaimer clause, read my opinion again, or for the first time, perhaps.”
In a partial summary judgment before the trial began — in which he found Trump, his two adult sons and other Trump Organization executives liable of fraud — Engoron rejected Trump’s disclaimer clause defense, writing that because the financial statements did not specify which information was “misrepresented or undisclosed” and they were “unquestionably” based on information within the defendants’ knowledge, “defendants may not rely on such purported disclaimers as a defense.”
Thus the clause, Engoron wrote in the September filing, does not only fail to “rise to the level of an enforceable disclaimer” but does not say what the defense argued it did and can not be used to insulate fraud.
“You’re wrong in your opinion,” Trump told Engoron Monday following the interjection. He also called Engoron’s opinion a “fraudulent decision,” according to New York Daily News reporter Molly Crane-Newman.
Trump also “has been screaming insults” at New York Attorney General Letitia James in the front row. “The fraud is her,” he yelled, according to Crane-Newman.
“He called me a fraud, and he didn’t know anything about me!” Trump went on, directing his rage back toward Engoron.
“It’s a terrible thing you’ve done. You know nothing about me, you believe that political hack back there,” Trump added, referring to James, “and that’s unfortunate.”
National security lawyer Bradley Moss wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that the former president’s behavior on the stand is a display of Trump’s “privilege” in the case.
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“Someone’s privilege is showing. No one else would be permitted to do this,” Moss said. He also explained why Engoron remained relatively tight-lipped through Trump’s outburst.
“For those asking why the judge is letting this slide, it’s because this is not a jury trial,” Moss added. “Trump lost the political motivation argument in pre-trial motions. If there was a jury the judge would intervene but the judge is the trier of fact here.”