Former President Donald Trump abruptly left his civil fraud trial in New York on Wednesday following an unexpected hearing. During this hearing, the judge rebuked him, stating that he lacked credibility, and imposed a $10,000 fine for violating a gag order by making derogatory comments about the court’s chief legal clerk.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron reprimanded the 77-year-old former president, Donald Trump, as he left the witness stand and returned to the defense table, appearing dejected with his head lowered.
In a tense three-minute moment, Trump refuted his earlier remarks to reporters on the same day, where he complained about “a person who is very partisan” sitting “alongside” the judge. It’s worth noting that this judge is presiding over the $250 million fraud case that poses a significant threat to Trump’s New York real estate holdings.
Prior to this incident, Trump had received two prior warnings and was subjected to a $5,000 fine for publicly criticizing the judge’s chief legal clerk, Allison Greenfield. He had made derogatory comments about her at the beginning of the trial in a post on Truth Social, which has since been removed.
Trump affirmed in the affirmative and asserted that he was, in fact, referring to his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Cohen was under cross-examination on Wednesday by his current personal attorney, Alina Habba, regarding his testimony from the previous day, where he stated that Trump had instructed him to inflate the valuation of his assets on financial records.
Following Trump’s departure, the 57-year-old Cohen informed the court that the former president communicates in a manner reminiscent of a criminal organization leader and had strongly insinuated that he and former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg were expected to manipulate the documents in order to achieve the inflated figures Trump desired.
Engoron has previously ruled that Trump is responsible for exaggerating his wealth and has revoked the New York business licenses of the leading 2024 Republican presidential candidate. This action may hinder Trump’s operations in the state of New York.
On Wednesday, the judge decisively rejected Trump’s attempt to dismiss the remaining claims made by the Attorney General. This decision was made partly because Cohen is not considered a central witness, and the lawsuit encompasses a substantial amount of additional documents and testimonies as evidence.
The trial will resume on Thursday morning, with the Attorney General’s office summoning another witness.
It is not anticipated that Trump will be present.