Former President Trump testified on the stand Monday that New York State Judge Arthur Engoron and New York State Attorney General Letitia James were “trying to hurt” him for “political reasons,” calling it “very disturbing.” He strongly criticized the unprecedented non-jury civil fraud trial as “fair”.
The former president and 2024 Republican presidential front-runner took the stand Monday morning in a civil trial stemming from Mr. James’ lawsuit against him, his family and his business. Mr. James claimed that Mr. Trump defrauded banks and inflated the value of assets.
President Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly said his wealth is actually undervalued. President Trump has repeatedly said there are disclaimers in his own financial statements and has asked banks to evaluate his numbers.
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During Trump’s unprecedented testimony on Monday, Engoron tried to cut Trump off from answering lengthy questions from state attorneys, going so far as to say, “I don’t want to hear everything he says.”
After his testimony was interrupted, Trump returned to the stand and defended himself and his business, slamming the investigations, lawsuits and non-jury trials.
Referring to the disclaimers in all of his financial statements and statements of financial position, President Trump said, “There should be no lawsuit here because there is a disclaimer that every court except this one has upheld.” No,” he said.
“They’re trying to hurt me, especially her,” Trump said, referring to Attorney General Letitia James. “For political reasons.”
Trump went on to call James a “political hack” and say she used the investigation and lawsuit “to become governor and become attorney general.” The former president referenced James’ campaign for her, in which she vowed to “get Trump.”
“This is a political witch hunt and she should be ashamed,” Trump said. “She’s the cheater.”
Mr. James, a Democrat, sued Mr. Trump, his children and the Trump Organization last year, alleging that he and his company misled banks and others about the value of assets. James alleged that the former president’s children (Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka and Eric) and his associates and companies committed “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” in their financial statements.
In September, Mr. Engoron accused Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization of building a real estate empire by defrauding banks, insurance companies and others by overstating their assets and exaggerating their net worth on documents used in transactions and financing. The court ruled that he had committed fraud.
“He ruled against me without knowing anything about me,” Trump said on stage. “He called me a fraud, but he didn’t know anything about me.”
President Trump also accused Engoron of devaluing the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, which Engoron valued at $18 million.
“He said it’s $18 million. And am I a fraud who doesn’t value the property? How do you call someone a fraud when they have property worth 50 to 100 times more? ?” Trump said. “You believed in the political hacks of the day, and that’s unfortunate.”
State Attorney Kevin Wallace, who was leading Trump’s questioning, asked if the former president was “done.”
“It’s over,” President Trump said.
This is a developing story. Please check back for the latest information.