Donald Trump’s lawyer has firmly criticized Judge Arthur Engoron during a break in the fraud trial. Alina Habba particularly blames him for silencing her client and shouting at her. “I had to deal with an unhinged judge who hit the table hard. Let me be very clear about this. I won’t accept that,” he said during a monologue in front of the courthouse. Trump himself also made no bones about it: he called Attorney General Letitia James, among other things, a “junk” who is trying to “boost her political image” with this case.
LOOK. Trump calls the fraud case an attempt to influence the election
According to Trump’s lawyer, Judge Engoron is extremely biased. To prove it, she repeated a quote from him during the trial.
“’I’m not here to hear what Trump has to say,’” he said. The judge could not have been more honest than this: before we even entered the courtroom, it had already been decided that my client committed fraud,” Habba said.
“With that phrase in mind: why am I still getting paid as a lawyer?” she continued. “Why are taxpayer dollars being wasted here? The answer is very clear: Ms. James wants to steal the show by calling my client a liar and his company fraudulent.”
“I had to sit down”
“She said this morning that the numbers don’t lie. Well ma’am, I have a message for you. The figures indeed did not lie when you wanted to become governor (in New York; ed.), you quickly lost out. The figures also do not lie when Trump will take his chance during the presidential elections in 2024. They are clear and obvious, this country is falling apart,” said Habba.
“Everyone has the right to defense in this country, but today I was told to sit down. I was shouted at. I had to deal with an unhinged judge who hit the table hard. Let me be very clear about this. I don’t accept that. Not in my life and therefore not here. And you shouldn’t just allow that either. Not every American can simply use a camera and a microphone. What I see is the demise of the American justice system.”
“Can you control your client?”
Things also continued to crackle between Engoron and Trump. At one point, the judge even threatened to evict the ex-president from his courtroom. “We get a whole speech again. “If you cannot control your client, I will send him away and draw every negative inference I can,” he said.
The judge then wanted to know whether the value of the Trump Building had been estimated correctly. However, the ex-president expanded too much in his answer – again – according to Engoron. “This was a simple yes-no question,” he made clear to Trump’s lawyer.
However, Habba believed that Trump should be allowed to give as long answers as Michael Cohen (Trump’s former lawyer and agent; ed.) two weeks ago. She also believed that the Public Prosecution Service should ask “better questions”. Trump then intervened. “This is a very unfair process, I hope the public is watching.”
Trump had also received warnings earlier. “This is not a political meeting. We will sit here all day if Trump continues at this pace,” Engoron said.
For Trump, the future of his business empire in New York is at stake in this fraud trial. The New York State Attorney General’s Office accuses Trump, his sons and associates of manipulating the value of the Trump Organization for years in order to obtain cheaper loans and insurance contracts.
Engoron had already found Trump guilty in an interim verdict. This mainly concerns the penalty provision. James is demanding damages of 250 million dollars (233 million euros) from Trump. She also wants Trump and his children to be banned from doing business in the state.
“Political witch hunt”
The former president is furious and consistently speaks of a “political witch hunt” for which President Joe Biden is said to be responsible. That claim is not based on evidence, because the investigation into Trump’s fraudulent practices began in 2019, before Biden’s term began.
Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric were interrogated earlier this week. They said they had played no role in drawing up documents about the family fortune. That task lay with accountants, it was said. Trump’s daughter Ivanka is scheduled to testify next week.
Trump’s testimony will show for the first time how he responds to a hostile interrogation
Prosecutor James also wants to prove six other claims: falsifying corporate records, conspiracy to falsify corporate records, issuing false financial statements, conspiracy to falsify false financial statements, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
This is just a taste of the various lawsuits Trump will face next year. At that point, he will be in the thick of his race to regain the presidency.
After all, Trump is by far the favorite within his Republican party to challenge incumbent President Joe Biden. He also has a lead over Biden in five important states, according to a poll by ‘The New York Times’ and Siena College, a university in New York state.
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LOOK. How hard will fraud trial hit Trump?
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