New York Attorney General Letitia James hit back at former President Donald Trump after he stormed out of a Manhattan court and was later fined $10k in a day of legal fireworks.
In a dramatic outburst on Wednesday afternoon in New York State Supreme Court, the former President threw his arms up in the air before getting up and leaving.
It came after fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen testified that Trump did not direct him to inflate the value of his properties.
Trump left the courtroom and told waiting reporters: ‘The witness just admitted that we won the trial and the judge should end this trial immediately. Thank you.’
After the explosive day in court, Attorney General Letitia James hit back at Trump, saying that the notion that Cohen undermined the state’s case was not true.
After the explosive day in court, Attorney General Letitia James hit back at Trump, saying that the notion that Cohen undermined the state’s case was not true
Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends the Trump Organization civil fraud trial, in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 25, 2023
Speaking outside the court, she said: ‘This has been a four year investigation, and there is mountains of evidence which basically corroborate the testimony of a number of witnesses.
‘It’s also important to know that Michael Cohen is not the main witness. His evidence has been corroborated by the mountains of evidence, enough evidence to fill the courtroom.
‘And so I look forward again to this trial continuing. And I look always, and I have, of course, I always look forward to justice. Thank you very much.
‘There is sufficient evidence to prove that, in fact, Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization and the other defendants committed widespread fraud.’
The admission by Cohen – which contradicts his earlier testimony – prompted defense attorney Clifford Robert to ask for a directed verdict, arguing that his statement was grounds for dismissal.
Judge Arthur Engoron said it was ‘absolutely denied’ and that the case had ‘evidence all over the place.’ He also said he did not consider Cohen a ‘key witness’.
‘There’s enough evidence in this case to fill this courtroom,’ the judge said.
Michael Cohen, pictured here, testified that Trump did not direct him to inflate the value of his properties
Donald Trump walked out of the courtroom Wednesday afternoon moments after one of his lawyers finished questioning fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen
The departure by Trump came after he had been fined for a second time for violating a gag order.
Judge Engoron slapped the former President with a fine to the tune of $10,000 after Engoron determined comments he made to reporters during a break in the trial violated a partial gag order issued a few weeks ago.
Judge Engoron called Trump to the stand after the lunch recess on Wednesday to explain remarks.
Speaking outside the courtroom earlier that morning, Trump had told reporters: ‘This judge is a very partisan judge, with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside of him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is,’ – an apparent reference to his clerk Allison Greenfield.
Trump slowly got up from his seat at a bench between his attorneys and sat in the witness box, adjusting himself before addressing his comments.
Repeating his lawyer’s earlier claims, Trump told the judge he had been referring to his former fixer who was testifying, Michael Cohen – not Greenfield.
The remark about partisans was aimed at ‘you and Cohen’, he told the judge, who ultimately found his testimony ‘not credible.’
‘The idea that that statement would refer to the witness, that doesn’t make sense to me,’ Engoron said, warning: ‘Don’t do it again or it will be worse.’
Judge Engoron had paused proceedings just before the lunch break to scold Trump for his remarks, calling it a ‘blatant, dangerous disobeyal’ of his court order.
Judge Arthur Engoron briefly paused the proceedings just before the court broke for lunch Wednesday to scold Trump for publicly speaking out against him and his clerk Allison Greenfield (left)
Trump was called to the stand to address remarks he made about Judge Engoron and his court staff earlier outside of the courtroom
Five days earlier, Trump had been fined $5,000 after Engoron learned that an offending social media post from early October had lingered on Trump’s campaign website for weeks after being taken down – on the judge’s orders – from Trump’s Truth Social media platform.
Addressing the issue again on Wednesday, Judge Engoron said he imposed the order because ‘I don’t want anybody killed.’
Cohen, who cut ties with Trump five years ago, returned to the stand on Wednesday to undergo further cross-examination by defense lawyers who have sought to undermine his credibility by painting him as a convicted felon and serial liar.
Taking the floor on Tuesday afternoon, attorney Alina Habba attacked Cohen’s credibility by referencing comments made by prosecutors during his 2018 sentencing on eight criminal charges, which included five counts of tax evasion.
Habba cited statements saying Cohen was ‘motivated by personal greed’ and had ‘repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends’.
The sentencing judge at the time also noted that Cohen’s crimes showed a ‘pattern of deception that permeated his professional life’ and declared that he had ‘abused his relationship to a powerful individual’, referring to Trump.
Michael Cohen walks outside New York State Supreme Court after the trial adjourned for the day
With Trump sitting with his defense team, his lawyer Alina Habba confronted his former fixer Michael Cohen with comments he had made praising Trump, before turning on him when Cohen’s legal problems started in 2018
In response, Cohen admitted that when he pleaded guilty to the five tax crimes he did not tell the truth because he did not think they were offenses.
Attorney General James found that Trump and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.
Prosecutors claim he has jacked up his net worth by between $812 million and $2.2 billion every year over a decade.
James argues Trump inflated his valuations when seeking lending. Trump’s lawyers are asking a judge to toss the suit, calling it a ‘crusade’ over long-ago loans that have been repaid.
She said he boosted valuations by up to $2 billion, inflating the value of signature assets including the Mar-a-Lago club where he now resides and his Manhattan penthouse apartment at Trump Tower.
Trump motions as he returns to the courtroom after a break in his civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court. He was fined $10,000 for violating the judge’s gag order for a second time
James is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York, his home state. The trial could last into December, Engoron has said.
Trump has long accused James and other prosecutors in New York of coming after him, in what he described as a ‘witch hunt’.
On Truth Social on Wednesday, Trump also said: ‘The New York State Attorney Generals case against me is DEAD, but the Radical Left Judge REFUSES to end it.
‘He just can’t let it go. Their ‘star’ witness lied like a dog on the stand today, and then admitted that I did NOTHING WRONG!
‘A total SleazeBag. Letitia James should focus on Violent Crime, which is out of control.
‘So unfair. I don’t even get a Jury Trial. A blight on the New York State Judicial System.
‘Businesses are watching all over the world, and never coming in, only moving out. The Governor should get involved. Election Interference by my Political Opponent!’