Trump said he had to keep the volume down after becoming animated during the civil fraud trial in New York

Former President Donald Trump returns to the courtroom Wednesday after a break in his civil business fraud case at the New York Supreme Court.  18, 2023, in New York.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

Trump said he had to keep the volume down after becoming animated during the civil fraud trial in New York

Election 2024

JENNIFER PELTZ and MICHAEL R. SISAK

Oct. 18, 2023

A judge warned

Donald

Trump and others kept their voices low at his civil fraud trial in New York on Wednesday after the former president threw up his hands in frustration and spoke loudly to his lawyers as a witness tested against him.

Judge Arthur Engoron made the warning after Trump animatedly conferred with his lawyers at the defense table during real estate appraiser Doug Larson’s second day of testimony at the Manhattan trial.

State’s Attorney Kevin Wallace asked Engoron to ask the defense to stop commenting during the witness, adding that the exhortations were audible on the witness’s side in the room. The judge then asked everyone to keep their voices low, especially if it was intended to influence the testimony.

The 2024 Republican frontrunner sat in court for the second day in a row on Wednesday, watching the trial that threatens to upend his real estate empire and his image as a wealthy businessman. He was there for the first three days, but skipped last week. On Tuesday, he left during a lunch break to give a deposition in an unrelated court case.

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In a preliminary ruling last month, Engoron ruled that Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, committed fraud for years by exaggerating the value of his assets and wealth on the financial statements used to close deals and get better terms on loans and insurances.

As punishment, Engoron ordered that a court-appointed receiver take control of some Trump companies, casting doubt on future oversight of Trump Tower and other major properties, but an appeals court has blocked that for now.

Trump did not speak about the case in front of TV cameras on his way to court on Wednesday, sparing him his usual vitriol about New York

Attorney General Aty. Gene.

Letitia James lawsuit for a morning break.

In the courtroom, which is closed to cameras, Trump became irritated as Larson testified. Trump’s lawyers sought to undermine states’ claims that his top corporate officials were playing games to inflate his property values ​​and bolster his bottom line.

In a series of questions, Trump attorney Lazaro Fields sought to establish that Larson at one point had undershot the projected 2015 value of a Trump-owned Wall Street office building by $114 million. Larson said the values ​​were not wrong, as we knew at the time.

Trump threw up his hands during the exchange.

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On Tuesday, Larson tested that he never consulted with or authorized former Trump Organization comptroller Jeffrey McConney to name him as an outside expert in the valuation spreadsheets he used to prepare Trump’s financial statements.

Fields accused Larson of lying on Wednesday, citing a decade-old email exchange between McConney and the appraiser.

That set off an angry back-and-forth between the defense and the state side, with Trump attorney Christopher Kise suggesting Larson could be at risk of self-incrimination and should be informed of his rights against self-incrimination. State’s Attorney Colleen Faherty called Kise’s comments witness intimidation.

After Larson was escorted from the courtroom, Kise insisted he was trying to protect witness rights, while State’s Attorney Kevin Wallace complained that the defense was putting on a media appearance. Ultimately, Engoron allowed Larson to return and answer the question without legal warning. Larson said he didn’t remember the email.

When asked again if he understood that McConney had requested his input to conduct appraisals, a weary Larson said: It appears so.

Trump railed about that altercation during a break in court.

Do you see what happened? The government song. They just lie. They didn’t make public all the information they had, Trump said. They didn’t reveal all the evidence making me completely innocent of what they said.

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After Larson, state attorneys called Jack Weisselberg, the son of former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. The son arranged financing for Trump while he was a director at Ladder Capital.

Trump’s civil lawsuit includes six claims in the James lawsuit that were not resolved in Engoron’s preliminary ruling, including allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying corporate records. Engoron will decide the case, not a jury, because state law does not allow these types of lawsuits.

Wednesday’s furor was just the latest clash between Engoron and Trump.

After Trump defamed a key court official on social media on the second day of the trial, the judge, a Democrat, issued a limited silence order that bars parties in the case from defaming members of his staff. Last year, Engoron held Trump in contempt and fined him $110,000 for being slow to respond to a subpoena from James’ office.

Trump said outside court Tuesday that he had come to like and respect Engoron, but that he believed Democrats were pushing him around like a pinball.

“It’s a very unfair situation that they’ve put me in,” Trump said.

Jill Colvin of the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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