Judge Warns Trump to Maintain Decorum During Testimony at Fraud Trial


A judge admonished Donald Trump and other parties involved in his New York civil fraud trial on Wednesday, cautioning them to lower their voices after the former president became visibly frustrated and conversed audibly with his legal team while a witness testified against him.

Judge Arthur Engoron issued the warning during real-estate appraiser Doug Larson's second day of testimony at the Manhattan trial. This came after Trump engaged in animated discussions with his lawyers at the defense table.

State lawyer Kevin Wallace raised a concern to Judge Engoron, urging him to instruct the defense to refrain from commenting during the witness's testimony. He emphasized that these comments were audible on the witness's side of the room. The judge, in turn, urged all present to keep their voices down, particularly if their intent was to influence the testimony.

The 2024 Republican frontrunner has been attending the trial for the second consecutive day, observing proceedings that could potentially impact his real estate ventures and public image as a wealthy businessman. Although he attended the initial three days, he was absent last week. On Tuesday, he briefly left during an afternoon break to provide a deposition for an unrelated lawsuit.

In a pre-trial ruling last month, Engoron determined that Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, engaged in years of fraud by inflating his asset values and net worth on annual financial statements. This ruling led Engoron to appoint a court-appointed receiver to oversee some Trump companies, placing the future of properties like Trump Tower in question. However, an appeals court temporarily suspended this order pending an appeal of the pre-trial decision.

Over the past three weeks, prosecutors have been building a case suggesting that Trump and his family knowingly exaggerated their property values. Trump's legal team, on the other hand, has been arguing that the valuations were accurate and any discrepancies were the fault of others.

Trump refrained from discussing the case with reporters as he entered court on Wednesday. Inside the courtroom, he grew visibly frustrated as Larson testified.

In the midst of questioning, Trump's lawyer, Lazaro Fields, attempted to establish that Larson had initially underestimated the projected 2015 value of a Trump-owned Wall Street office building. Larson responded by stating that the values were accurate based on the information available at the time.

As tensions rose, Trump expressed his frustration by raising his hands in exasperation.

Wednesday's proceedings continued with further exchanges between the defense and state sides. Trump's civil trial encompasses six claims from New York Attorney General Letitia James's lawsuit that were not addressed in Engoron's pre-trial ruling. This includes allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records. Engoron, rather than a jury, will make the final decision in this case, as per state law.

The trial is expected to run until December 22, and while Trump has stated his willingness to testify, it remains uncertain when he will be called to the stand.