2:50 PM ET, November 1, 2023
Here’s what happened inside the courtroom last week when Trump took the stand
From CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Lauren Del Valle
Judge Arthur Engoren preferred Hear directly from Donald Trump.
Last Wednesday, after Trump spoke about Engron’s law clerk — in defiance of the judge’s gag order — a New York judge briefly suspended testimony in a civil fraud trial, saying he was “going to hold a hearing right now” on the matter. Call his first witness: Donald J. Trump.
Engoron asked Trump if he wanted to be a witness.
Trump didn’t hesitate, immediately pushing his seat at the defense table to stand and walk into the witness box. Dressed in a blue tie, pinstripe shirt and navy suit, Trump raised his right hand and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
For a former president who has been impeached four times and now faces the prospect of all criminal investigations while running for the White House, Trump’s unprecedented appearance under a judge’s trial in a year was a surprise moment. In 2024.
The episode — where Trump allegedly violated a gag order by attacking his opponents that could, in theory, have led to his imprisonment — was a reminder of the difficulty he faces in navigating his campaign rhetoric with the court’s legal realities and restrictions. .
Once Trump was on the stand, Engoron put on his lawyer hat and began quietly questioning the former president, reciting what Trump had told reporters outside the courtroom hours earlier.
“This judge is a very biased judge, and he’s got a very partisan person sitting with him — maybe even more partisan than him,” Trump said.
Before the luncheon, Trump’s lawyers said his statement was not about the judge’s clerk, but about a witness sitting next to the judge, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer. Given Trump’s previous attacks, this is a claim that strains credibility.
But Engoron wanted to ask Trump directly.
“Who are you referring to,” Ngoron asked Trump in the hallway about his comments.
“You and Cohen,” Trump said.
“Are you sure you didn’t mean the person on the other end?” asked Engoran, his clerk, still seated, with a straight face, to the right.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Trump replied.
During the first week of the trialIn response to Trump’s social media post in which Engoron attacked Engoron’s clerk and showed a picture of him with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, Engoron implemented a gag order barring parties from talking about his staff.