June 19, 2024

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Donald Trump puts on a combative show in court testimony

2 min read

There was a moment, some two hours into Donald Trump’s turn on the witness stand in Manhattan state court on Monday, when the larger-than-life real estate tycoon and former US president appeared oddly wounded.

“He called me a fraud and he didn’t know anything about me,” Trump said, wagging his finger in the direction of the judge, Arthur Engoron. “It’s a terrible thing you’ve done. You know nothing about me!”

That came after another raw moment in which an emotional Trump fumed at a government lawyer: “People don’t know how good a company I built because people like you go around demeaning me!”

Trump was appearing in court to testify in a civil fraud case brought by the New York attorney-general in which he is accused of inflating reports of his net worth in order to secure loans on favourable terms and reap other economic benefits.

Engoron has already concluded that was the case, in an order handed down on the eve of the trial. The court proceedings are meant to determine the penalties the former president and his adult sons will face.

But for Trump, the trial is also something else: an unusual campaign stop in his quest to return to the White House and an occasion to defend the reputation for unassailable business success that lies at the core of his identity and is essential to his political career.

That might account for Trump’s seeming sensitivity. It might also explain why he decided to testify in the first place because legal experts had warned that doing so might prove perilous for the upcoming criminal trials in which the stakes involve possible prison time.

“His behaviour is not doing him any favours legally,” Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said in an email. “It almost seems as if Trump is attempting to help himself politically — at least with his base — by not co-operating with the judge or the New York attorney-general’s counsel and even accusing the judge and the AG of treating him…

2023-11-06 19:32:24

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