Former President Donald Trump appeared on the stand Monday at his civil fraud trial in New York.
Trump confirmed he planned to testify in a post on social media earlier Monday in which he called the case “ELECTION INTERFERENCE” and a “WITCH HUNT!”
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed suit last year, accusing Trump, his adult sons and his business of lying to lenders and insurers about the value of their properties for years in order to get more favorable terms. Trump is accused of inflating his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion a year, Reuters reported.
Court will resume Wednesday
Update 4 p.m. EST Nov. 6: The civil case against Trump will continue on Wednesday with testimony from the former president’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, James said Monday.
The New York attorney general’s office is expected to rest its case after that. Motions will then be heard before the defense begins to present its case, James said.
‘I will not be bullied,’ New York AG says
Update 3:55 p.m. EST Nov. 6: James told reporters gathered outside the courthouse that Trump “rambled” and “hurled insults” while giving his testimony on Monday, “but we expected that.”
“At the end of the day, the documentary evidence demonstrated that in fact, he falsely inflated his assets to basically enrich himself and his family. He continued to persistently engage in fraud,” she said.
“The numbers don’t lie, and Mr. Trump obviously can engage in all of these distractions, and that is what exactly what he did, what he committed on the stand today – engaging in distractions and engaging in name-calling. But I will not be bullied. I will not be harassed. This case will go on.”
On the stand on Monday, Trump called James a “political hack” who was pursuing the case against him for political reasons and “trying to demean me and hurt me,” according to The Guardian and CNN. He also criticized the judge several times.
‘I think it went very well,’ Trump says
Update 3:40 p.m. EST Nov. 6: While leaving the courtroom on Monday, Trump told reporters, “I think it went very well.”
“This is a case that should have never been brought,” he said. “It’s a case that should be dismissed immediately. The fraud was on behalf of the court.”
He added, “It’s a terrible thing that’s happened here. We’re taking days and days, and weeks and weeks, and it goes on, and you look at the outside world and what’s happening. But of course, they’re getting their wish because I don’t have to be here, for the most part, but I sort of do have to be here, because I want to be here. Because it’s a scam, and this is a case that should have never been brought, and it’s a case that should be dismissed.”
Trump finishes giving testimony
Update 3:25 p.m. EST Nov. 6: Kevin Wallace of the New York attorney general’s office finished questioning Trump on the stand on Monday afternoon, The New York Times reported.
In his testimony, the former president repeatedly claimed that the case before the court is “election interference” and a politically motivated “witch hunt.” He also claimed that the case was unnecessary because the banks were paid back for the loans he and his company got.
“The bank was thrilled,” he said at one point on Monday, according to The Guardian. “They got all their money back. There was no victim. ... It was a very successful loan, as opposed to other people who don’t do successful loans.”
Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, is expected to give testimony later this week, according to CNN.
Trump resumes testimony
Update 2:20 p.m. EST Nov. 6: Trump has returned to a New York courtroom for his ongoing civil fraud trial, The Guardian reported. He got back on the stand and resumed his testimony, with Kevin Wallace of the New York attorney general’s office asking him about loans from Deutsche Bank, according to The New York Times.
Trump attorney says trial politically motivated
Update 1:35 p.m. EST Nov. 6: An attorney for Trump reiterated her client’s claims that the civil trial against him is politically motivated while speaking to reporters outside the courthouse during a break in the trial on Monday.
“’I’m not here to hear what he has to say,’” attorney Alina Habba said, quoting the judge overseeing the trial. “That was what rang true, loud and could not have been any more honest coming from the judge who has already pre-determined that my client committed fraud before he even walked into this courtroom.”
Judge Arthur Engoron made the comment in court after Trump declined to stop giving lengthy answers to simple yes or no questions, despite multiple warnings.
“I’m not here to here what he has to say. I’m here to hear him answer questions,” Engoron said before telling Trump’s attorneys to “sit down already,” CNN reported.
In September, Engoron ruled that Trump and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth, The Associated Press reported. In a court filing, the judge wrote that annual financial statements submitted to banks and insurance companies by Trump “clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business,” according to The New York Times.
The ongoing trial is set to determine the size of the penalty Trump and others will face.
Court breaks for lunch
Update 12:55 p.m. EST Nov. 6: Court proceedings have paused in New York to allow for a lunch break. On his way out of the courtroom, Trump gave reporters a thumbs-up, The New York Times reported.
The trial will resume in about an hour, according to The Guardian.
Questions focus on property valuations
Update 12:35 p.m. EST Nov. 6: Trump’s testimony on Monday has so far focused in on the valuation of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and his golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The former president said the property valuations included development potential and that such a practice was above board, The Guardian reported. The attorney general has argued that multiple “unorthodox strategies” were used to boost the value of the golf course in particular, according to The New York Times.
“It’s one of the greatest pieces of land I’ve ever seen,” Trump said on the stand, according to The Guardian. “I just want to sit with – it’s called an investment. .. There’s nothing wrong with sitting on a property and waiting if (you’re) willing to play their game.”
Judge threatens to dismiss Trump from stand
Update 11:20 a.m. EST Nov. 6: Judge Arthur Engoron asked Trump’s attorney, Chris Kise, to control his client on Monday or see him dismissed from the stand.
“This is not a political rally,” Engoron said at one point after Trump went long on one of his answers, The New York Times reported. He had already chided Trump several times for longwinded answers to yes or no questions.
He asked Kise to talk to Trump during the court’s brief break.
“I beseech you to control him if you can,” he told the attorney, according to CNN. “If you can’t I will. I will I excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can.”
The court has resumed its session following a brief break.
Court adjourns for break
Update 11:10 a.m. EST Nov. 6: Court proceedings have paused for a break on Monday morning during Trump’s testimony, CNN reported.
Before the break, the former president leaned into the microphone and reiterated his claims that the trial is part of a witch hunt.
“This is a very unfair trial. Very, very and I hope the public is watching,” he said, according to CNN.
Trump says he felt assets were undervalued on financial statements
Update 10:35 a.m. EST Nov. 6: On the stand, Trump said that he believed his values were undervalued on his financial statements and said that he had relationships with banks that made the financial statements more of a formality, according to The New York Times.
He said that he would look at the statements and sometimes offer suggestions.
“I thought that Mar-a-Lago was very underestimated, but I didn’t do anything about it,” he said, according to the Times. “I just let it be.”
Trump takes the stand
Update 10:10 a.m. EST Nov. 6: The former president has begun to testify after being sworn in at his civil fraud trial in New York, according to The New York Times.
‘It’s a very unfair situation,’ Trump says
Update 10 a.m. EST Nov. 6: The former president addressed reporters outside the courtroom where he is scheduled to testify in his civil fraud trial, saying that the situation is “very unfair.”
“This is really election interference,” he said. He added that, rather than inflating his net worth, “the numbers are much greater than on the financial statements.”
New York AG: ‘The only thing that matters are the facts and the numbers’
Update 9:50 a.m. EST Nov. 6: New York Attorney General Letitia addressed people gathered outside the courthouse on Monday and acknowledged that Trump will take the stand.
“Mr. Trump has repeatedly and consistently misrepresented and inflated the value of his assets, and before he takes the stand, I am certain that he will engage in name-calling and taunts and race-baiting, and call this a witch hunt,” she said. “But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters are the facts and the numbers, and numbers, my friends, don’t lie.”
Original report: “Getting ready to head to the Downtown Lower Manhattan Courthouse to testify,” Trump wrote in part on his Truth Social platform.
Court proceedings are expected to begin at 10 a.m., according to CNN.
Trump is expected to take the stand one week after his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, testified in court.
Donald Trump Jr. an executive vice president of the Trump Organization and a trustee of a trust that was set up to hold the company’s assets while the elder Trump was in the White House, testified that he never worked on his father’s financial statements, The Associated Press reported. He acknowledged that he signed off on statements as a trustee but said that he trusted accountants and Allen Weisselberg, then the Trump Organization’s finance chief, to do the work.
“I wasn’t working on the document, but if they tell me that it’s accurate, based on their accounting assessment of all of the materials,” he said, according to the AP, “these people had an incredible intimate knowledge, and I relied on them.”
Eric Trump, who now runs the Trump Organization, also denied having direct involvement with the financial statements at the heart of the case, The New York Times reported.
“I never worked on the statement of financial condition,” he said, according to the newspaper.
Donald Trump and his sons are expected to testify again, this time for the defense, later in the trial, according to Bloomberg News. The former president’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, is scheduled to testify in court on Wednesday, CNN reported.