An intense atmosphere prevailed in the civil trial of former President Donald Trump on alleged fraud charges as proceedings began Monday in a New York courtroom.
Trump took the stand, leading to an exchange of heated arguments between him and his defense attorney Chris Kise and Judge Arthur Engoron.
Legal analyst Lisa Rubin documented one instance of this confrontation through her post on X.
“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 suggested that it would be more appropriate for the former and future President of the United States to respond.
Judge Engoron: “Mr. Kise, can you control your client? This is not a political rally… Maybe you should have a talk with him right now.” Kise disagrees and says it would be far more economical to let the “former and future chief executive of the United States” to give his…
— Lisa Rubin (@lawofruby) November 6, 2023
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 noted that, during the proceedings, Trump’s attorney Alina Habba stated in open court that if the state prosecutor desired more comprehensive responses, he should formulate better questions.
This prompted Judge Engoron to direct her to take a seat.
“Very, very unfair trial, and I hope the public is watching,” Trump said then, according to Lowell.
Trump lawyer Alina Habba tells the judge that NYAG prosecutor should ask better questions if he wants more specific answers. Judge shouts at Habba to “sit down!”— Trump rails: “Very very unfair trial and I hope the public is watching”
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) November 6, 2023
During his testimony, President Trump described New York Attorney General Letitia James as a “political hack” attempting to use the trial to advance her own political ambitions, as reported by The New York Post.
Moreover, he asserted that everyone was paying attention to this case and stated that “[the] fraud is on the court and not on me” in reference to accusations brought against him by Engoron.
Habba expressed her displeasure with how she had been handled 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.
Habba attacking the judge: But I was told to sit down today. I was yelled at and I've had a judge who is unhinged slamming a table. I don’t tolerate that in my life, I’m not going to tolerate it here pic.twitter.com/u6Sgd7dnqA
— Acyn (@Acyn) November 6, 2023
“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.”