A closer look at a courtroom photo from Trump’s fraud trial | ET REALITY


Donald J. Trump began his testimony Monday before a Manhattan courtroom packed with spectators. They had come to witness the spectacle of a former president of the United States taking the witness stand at trial to defend his family business and his reputation as a real estate magnate.

Even before the civil trial began, the judge in the case, Judge Arthur Engoron, ruled that Trump had fraudulently misvalued his properties for years and revoked his licenses to operate them in New York, a ruling that has been appealed.

The trial, which is in its sixth week, will determine how much more Trump should be penalized. New York’s attorney general is asking the judge to impose a $250 million fine and permanently ban the former president from running a company in the state.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that his annual financial statements were merely estimates and that different valuations were standard in the real estate business.

Here’s a closer look at the scene inside the courtroom through a photo taken Monday just before Trump took the stand.

Since the trial began on October 2, the former president has been a frequent spectator, although he is not required to be present every day. Usually when he appears, he sits at the defense table, between two of his attorneys, Alina Habba and Christopher M. Kise. On Monday he moved from his usual spot to the witness stand to testify.

He made a surprise appearance on the stand last month, when Judge Engoron questioned him for a few minutes about comments he had made to reporters outside the courtroom. (The judge later imposed a $10,000 fine against Trump, finding that he had violated a gag order prohibiting him from making public statements about the judge’s staff.)

While Monday was the first time he testified on central issues in the case, the trial had previously unleashed a rollercoaster of reactions from Trump. Early in the trial, he had sometimes rolled his eyes at the judge or struggled to contain his anger, including during testimony from his former attorney and fixer, Michael D. Cohen. In the dullest moments, he had yawned or looked bored.

On Monday, Judge Engoron rebuked Trump several times, asking him to keep his comments brief. Trump later lashed out at Ms. James and Judge Engoron from the witness stand.

The office of Ms. James, the New York state attorney general, is bringing the fraud case against the Trump family and the Trump Organization. Ms. James has often been seen in the front row of the courtroom, especially on days when the former president is also present at the trial. Sometimes in the mornings, before she begins the trial, she can be seen speaking cordially with one of Trump’s lawyers, Kise. On Monday, she told reporters: “I think it’s going to be an interesting day. But numbers and facts matter.”

More security personnel are present on days when the former president is in the courtroom. On Monday, court officials slowly patrolled the hallways, with Secret Service agents and other security sitting on both sides of the courtroom.

On most days of the trial, most of the spectators sitting in the benches appear to be journalists. As is often the case during high-profile trials in New York City, there are occasionally members of the public and tourists who have come to see the show. A group of Judge Engoron’s friends also regularly attend.

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