Former President Trump took the stand on Monday in a non-jury civil trial in New York, where he has been sued by state Attorney General Letitia James for allegedly defrauding banks and inflating the value of his assets. The former president maintained his innocence and called the trial a “disgrace” and “election interference,” while demanding a jury to hear his case.
Trump, who is also the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, appeared in court early Monday morning accompanied by his legal team. He took the stand in an unprecedented move, testifying for more than five hours about his financial records and the allegations made against him by the state attorney general.
Throughout his testimony, Trump defended himself and his businesses, stating that his assets were actually undervalued and that his financial statements had disclaimers requesting that the numbers be evaluated by the banks. He called the case a “political witch hunt” and accused James of using the investigation and lawsuit for political gain, stating that she has “no case” against him.
“I want a jury,” Trump declared, referring to the fact that the trial was being heard by a judge rather than a jury. His spokesperson clarified that there was never an option to choose a jury trial and that it was “unfortunate” that a jury would not be able to hear the case.
BREAKING: President Trump issues a statement outside of New York courtroom:
“This is a case that should have never been brought. It’s a case that should be dismissed immediately. The fraud was on behalf of the court. The court was the fraudster in this case.”
“It’s a… pic.twitter.com/BOOYiuEnOK
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) November 6, 2023
Trump also criticized the judge presiding over the case, Arthur Engoron, for ruling against him “without knowing anything about me.” He accused Engoron of being a “political hack” and questioned why the judge would call him a “fraud” when he himself had a property that was “50 to 100 times more” valuable.
Trump’s defense attorneys also spoke out against Engoron and James, with attorney Alina Habba stating that she was yelled at and told to sit down during the trial. The attorneys also pointed to the disclaimers on Trump’s financial statements, which they argued released him from any liability.
“Donald Trump is very clearly not getting a fair trial in front of this judge.”
Attorney @jbinnall calls out Judge Engoron’s political bias in President Trump’s NY civil case: “This judge doesn’t belong in a court room and he really should be removed from the bench immediately.”… pic.twitter.com/jKFnG6R0bl
— Real America’s Voice (RAV) (@RealAmVoice) November 6, 2023
The former president’s testimony concluded on Monday afternoon, with his daughter Ivanka Trump also testifying. Despite facing scrutiny and accusations of fraud, both Trump and his legal team remained confident, with one of his attorneys stating that they have “never had a witness testify better” in their 33 years of experience.