(The Hill) – A New York judge asked former President Trump to pipe down after he grew animated while a witness testified against him in his civil fraud trial.
Judge Arthur Engoron issued the warning after Trump threw his hands up in frustration and conferred with his lawyers during real estate appraiser Doug Larson’s second day of testimony, according to The Associated Press.
Kevin Wallace, a lawyer with the state attorney general’s office, requested that Engoron ask the defense to “stop commenting during the witness’s testimony,” noting that Trump’s comments were audible on the witness side of the room. Engoron then asked everyone to keep their voices down, “particularly if it’s meant to influence the testimony,” the AP reported.
The admonition came during Trump’s second bout attending his sprawling fraud trial in person. He was also in attendance for the start of the trial earlier this month, where his frustration similarly dictated the proceedings.
The former president often grumbled, scowled or threw his hands up before exiting to deliver fiery stump speeches in the courthouse hallways. When that rage manifested in attacks on court staff on Truth Social, Engoron issued a limited gag order barring Trump or other parties in the case from posting or speaking about his employees.
Trump has called the trial a “witch hunt” and lambasted both Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James for their roles in the case. He has denied any wrongdoing.
James sued Trump, the Trump Organization and Trump’s two adult sons — Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump — last year, claiming they engaged in decades of fraud by falsely inflating and deflating the value of their assets to receive lower taxes and better insurance coverage. James’s office is asking for $250 million in financial penalties and a ban on Trump and his children serving as officers or directors of New York companies.
Before the trial even began, Engoron found that James had proved the crux of her case, ruling that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for fraud. The decision stripped some of Trump’s business licenses and increased the likelihood he might lose control of some of his famed properties — the same ones that catapulted him to fame, television success and eventually the White House.
Trump’s legal team appealed the ruling and asked for a stay in both the decision and the trial until an appeals court could hear their case. The New York appellate division declined to stay the trial and most of the ruling, but did halt the cancellation of Trump’s business licenses.
The fraud trial, which is expected to run through December, is the first of a slew of trials Trump will encounter next year as he continues his bid for the White House as the top GOP presidential primary candidate. Trump faces a combined 91 charges across four criminal cases and is a party in more than a half-dozen civil lawsuits.