It's Litigation

Trump’s disastrous civil fraud testimony isn’t doing him any favors

Just an hour into his testimony at this morning’s civil fraud case hearing, Trump is already pissing off the Judge. Dodging questions about Trump property valuations and relying on his typical grandstanding tactics, the former president has already been admonished by Arthur Engoron several times during testimony. But that’s not leading to any self-censorship from Trump, who keeps getting off-track with long speeches and waxing lyrical on the “unfairness” of the case.

“We are here to hear him answer questions,” Engoron told the press, “and most of the time he’s not.”

While it’s not exactly surprising—Trump’s speaking style has been long noted for its reliance on confusing tangents and diversion—it doesn’t bode well for the case if Trump can’t explain the alleged inflation of his properties except by saying that the Trump brand is worth more than any on-paper valuation.

Which is, essentially, what he’s saying. Last week, Trump’s sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, were called to testify in the $250 million civil fraud case. When asked how much they had to do with the inflated value of certain Trump properties, both passed the buck, albeit in slightly different ways. Today, Trump is being questioned as to the true value—and size—of certain apartments in Trump Tower.

When asked about the valuation of Trump’s Aberdeen, Scotland-based golf course, Trump’s answer was so irrelevant that Judge Engoron had to interrupt him and forcefully ask him to actually answer the question. After the somewhat less contentious second hour of Trump’s testimony, it seems he’s returning to form, failing to answer straightforward questions and declining to discuss his properties in terms of concrete value.

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