Donald Trump took the stand on Monday morning in the New York courtroom of Judge Arthur Engoron and almost immediately began to respond to questions with long, meandering rants that more closely resembled his social media posts than an answer to anything state’s attorney Kevin Wallace was asking. Engoron repeatedly asked Trump’s lead attorney Chris Kise to get his client under control, but Kise refused to do so and claimed that Trump had a special right as the “former and future chief executive” to give whatever response he wanted.
Much of Trump’s performance seemed dedicated to trying to rile the judge into taking some kind of action that might have justified a motion for mistrial. That notion was confirmed during the lunch break, when both Trump and his attorney Alina Habba attacked the judge in a transparent ploy to push Engoron into some kind of definitive action, like a contempt citation. That didn’t happen.
What did happen, in both the morning and afternoon sessions, was that Trump was forced over and over again to concede points critical to New York Attorney General Letitia James’s financial fraud case. Much of the coverage is going to be about Trump’s attacks on Engoron, Wallace, and James. But what happened in court on Monday was that Trump kept right on losing.
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