Trump demands jury trial during dramatic New York testimony

 November 8, 2023

A defiant President Trump demanded a jury Monday during his dramatic testimony in his civil fraud case in New York. 

The case is a bench trial, and judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that Trump defrauded banks by inflating his assets.

Trump: I want a jury

Seeing that Engoron has already ruled on the case, Trump was understandably vexed at being detained so long in court when he could be campaigning. His testimony took about five hours.

"It’s a disgrace. It is election interference because you want to keep me in court all day long," Trump said. "And Judge … I want a jury."

Trump has argued the case is part of a broader witch hunt aimed at derailing his presidential campaign. A fresh New York Times poll showed Trump soundly defeating Joe Biden despite his legal hurdles, which also include four criminal indictments.

At various points Monday, Trump chastised Engoron for going along with a "fraud" brought by "political hack" Letitia James, who campaigned for attorney general with a promise to go after Trump.

“It’s a terrible thing you’ve done. You know nothing about me,” Trump told the judge. “You believe that political hack back there,” he added.

"You have no case"

One of Trump's arguments is that his financial statements contain disclaimers that require banks to do their own due diligence. But Engoron said he is not interested in hearing arguments he has already rejected.

“No, no, no,” Engoron said. “We’re not going to hear about the disclaimer clause. If you want to hear about the disclaimer clause, read my opinion again — or for the first time, perhaps.”

Trump shot back, “You’re wrong in your opinion,” adding: “He called me a fraud and he didn’t know anything about me.”

Trump also said he is actually wealthier than his financial statements indicate - and in any case, none of his banks have complained about losing money.

"You have no case," Trump said.

Judge snaps

At one point, Trump asked the judge if he could read a note that he brought with him. When the judge said no, Trump remarked, “I’m shocked, I’m shocked.”

Engoron demanded that Trump's lawyers "control" him, declaring, "this is not a political rally."

In a revealing fit of passion, Engoron fumed that he was not there to listen to Trump speak and, slamming his hands on the table, shouted "sit down!" to Trump's lawyer Alina Habba.

The court heard from Trump's daughter Ivanka on Wednesday, and her brothers Eric and Donald Jr. previously testified last week.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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