Backed into a corner Donald Trump comes out swinging in court
During a landmark fraud trial, he approached his testimony the same way as he had in his real estate business and political career: by ignoring the rules and technicalities and bragging about his achievements.
In the upcoming criminal cases against him, his aggressive and freewheeling appearance on Monday provided a glimpse into how he may behave as a defendant.
By repeatedly refusing to directly answer the attorney general’s questions, the former president angered Judge Arthur Engoron.
During the trial, yes-or-no questions about accounting records and dates became extended riffs on the incredible value of his properties, or the partisanship of the judge and prosecutors.
Mr Trump said at one point: “This is an unfair trial…and I hope the public is watching.”
Cameras were not allowed inside, but dozens of reporters gathered to transmit his testimony.
Knowing this, Mr Trump used his time on the stand to ardently defend himself in the same manner he has used in social media statements and stump speeches to rile up his supporters. During a break, he even posted an attack on the judge on Truth Social.
Responding to a question, he said the attorney general’s office and other prosecutors “were coming after me from 15 sides”.
Democrats, Trump haters, all cases that are not good,” he said. They call it weaponization.
There were times when his responses were boastful, or simply odd.
Kevin Wallace of the attorney general’s office asked Mr Trump about the value of his brand, and Mr Trump boasted: “I became president because of my brand.”