Fraud trial: Tensions over Trump statement: "No political rally"

“I don’t want to hear everything this witness has to say”: Judge Arthur Engoron was visibly annoyed by the ex-US President’s lengthy answers. And threatens consequences.

Donald Trump’s statements in the fraud trial against the former US president have led to tensions with the court. Judge Arthur Engoron instructed Trump several times in the courtroom not to make “speeches”: “This is not a political rally, this is a courtroom.” Trump is just there to answer questions. “I don’t want to hear everything this witness has to say,” said the judge.

Engoron’s increasing anger was sparked by Trump’s lengthy answers. The 77-year-old used this under oath to accuse the Democrats of using the judiciary as a weapon against him. The courts and public prosecutors are biased towards him. Trump wants to be re-elected US President for the Republicans next year. At one point he said: “This is a very unfair trial. I hope the public is watching.”

Prosecutors accuse Trump, his sons and employees of manipulating the value of the Trump Organization for years in order to obtain cheaper loans and insurance contracts. Judge Arthur Engoron had already confirmed this before the trial – the proceedings are now primarily about determining possible punishments and several other charges.

As expected, Trump denied allegations that he had manipulated the value of his properties and businesses. In addition, there was no damage, the banks had received back the loans given: “Everyone got their money back in full,” said Trump. The ex-US President appeared in the Manhattan courtroom shortly before 10 a.m. Eastern time wearing a dark suit, blue tie and a serious expression.

Engoron repeatedly told Trump’s defense attorney Christopher Kise to get his mandate “under control.” Otherwise this would have a negative impact on his evaluation of the statement. When Trump’s defenders made counterproposals, Engoron ordered them to sit down.

Does Trump have to pay $250 million?

Trump is not threatened with a prison sentence or a direct impact on his bid for the presidency in the trial, but a conviction could cause him great business damage. New York’s Attorney General Letitia James wants to ensure that Trump has to pay 250 million US dollars (around 239 million euros) and is no longer allowed to do business in New York. It is unclear whether he would also have to give up properties such as his famous New York Trump Tower if he is convicted.

Several of Trump’s children had recently testified. However, Donald Jr. and Eric denied any allegations in court and said they had nothing to do with the Trump Organization’s accounting and billing.

Because of numerous verbal gaffes by Trump, who was personally present at the trial several times, Judge Engoron had previously threatened him with serious consequences, imposed minor fines and a ban on defamation of court employees.

Survey sees Trump ahead in key US states

Trump is the most promising candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in a year’s election. According to many observers, he is using the trial as election advertising and repeatedly claims that the trial is part of a political campaign against him.

One year before the US presidential election, things are looking good for Trump. The New York Times reported on a survey conducted by Siena College that found Joe Biden trailing Trump in five of the six key battleground states. However, the error tolerances are between 1.8 and 4.8 percentage points.

The survey surveyed a total of 3,662 voters in the six states of Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Michigan and Pennsylvania between October 22nd and November 3rd. The survey showed that both candidates were unpopular, but voters tended to take their frustration out on the president, writes the New York Times.