The combustible atmosphere in the civil trial of former President Donald Trump on allegations of fraud turned into open fireworks Monday in a New York courtroom as Trump took the stand.
Legal analyst Lisa Rubin posted on X one snippet of the sniping that took place as Judge Arthur Engoron vented to Trump defense attorney Chris Kise his displeasure with the 2024 presidential candidate’s answers on the stand.
“Mr. Kise, can you control your client? This is not a political rally … Maybe you should have a talk with him right now,” Rubin quoted Engoron as saying.
Kise instead said it would be better to let the “former and future chief executive of the United States” answer.
Guardian reporter Hugo Lowell posted another bit of byplay on social media.
“I beseech you to control him if you can. If you can’t, I will. I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can,” Engoron said, according to Lowell.
Lowell also noted that at one point, Trump attorney Alina Habba said in open court that if the state prosecutor wanted better answers, he should ask better questions.
That prompted Engoron to order her to sit down.
“Very, very unfair trial, and I hope the public is watching,” Trump said then, according to Lowell.
At one point, he spoke about Engoron, saying, “Everybody’s watching this case. He called me a fraud and he didn’t know anything about me. The fraud is on the court and not on me.”
Habba shared her anger at her treatment by the judge.
“I was told to sit down today. I was yelled at and I’ve had a judge, who is unhinged, slamming a table. Let me be very clear: I don’t tolerate that in my life. I’m not going to tolerate it here,” she said.
“And the numbers don’t lie when President Trump runs for office in 2024,” Habba said, according to the Post. “Those numbers are loud and clear.”
“This country is falling apart. And if we don’t stop corruption, in courtrooms where attorneys are gagged, where attorneys are not allowed to say what they need to say to protect their client’s interest. It doesn’t matter what your politics are. Everyone in this country has a right to put up a defense,” she said.
“It’s political warfare, as you would call it, or political lawfare,” he said. “I got a lot of names for it.”