Former President Donald Trump wrapped up his testimony in the $250 million fraud trial on Monday, leaving the courtroom with a parting shot at New York’s Attorney General Letitia James and a characterization of the case as a ‘witch hunt’ presided over by a ‘hostile judge.’ Trump’s testimony had been marked by fiery confrontations and heated exchanges with Justice Arthur Engoron and AG James.
The 77-year-old demanded a jury trial and declared that the case should be immediately dismissed. He continued to assert that his net worth is billions higher than indicated on his financial statements, calling the case a ‘disgrace’ and an ‘election interference’ while expressing his desire for a jury. His statements came after a combative appearance lasting about four hours.
During his testimony, Trump defended the accuracy of the financial statements and the valuations in question, asserting that they were conservative and protected by a ‘disclaimer clause.’ He repeatedly insisted that the inflated values cited in the case are lower than the true values. Trump also pointed to Mar-a-Lago, which prosecutors have valued at $18 million, stating it is worth ‘between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.’ Judge Engoron scolded him multiple times, threatened to remove him from the court, and warned his legal team to control him. The case centers on allegations that Trump inflated his net worth and property values to secure loans and insurance savings.
Throughout the trial, Trump had engaged in confrontations with the judge, his legal counsel, and AG James. His legal team did not cross-examine him, and the New York state lawyer, Kevin Wallace, questioned Trump about contracts related to his real estate ventures. After his testimony, one of his lawyers, Alina Habba, stated that Trump’s team would seek a mistrial. The next witness for the attorney general’s office will be Ivanka Trump, scheduled to testify on Wednesday.
Donald Trump’s appearance on the stand has become a defining feature of the 2024 election, should he become the Republican nominee. He used the testimony as a campaign platform, criticizing the trial, Judge Engoron, and AG James. Both of his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, have previously taken the stand. Trump has repeatedly called the case a witch hunt and has characterized AG James as engaging in election interference to prevent his potential return to the presidency. Despite facing multiple criminal indictments, Trump remains a dominant figure in American politics as he seeks to regain the White House.
Derek Chan – Editor