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Donald Trump brands fraud case a 'scam' after 'rambling' civil court appearance in New York
6 November 2023, 21:09 | Updated: 6 November 2023, 21:10
Donald Trump labelled a fraud case brought against him a "scam" after giving testimony in a trial that could threaten his real estate empire.
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The former president said his appearance in a lower Manhattan court on Monday "went very well", adding that his testimony was "very conclusive".
He said he wanted to be in court to defend himself against claims significantly inflating the value of his real estate empire by over $2 billion (£1.65 billion) so he could secure more favourable bank loans because they are a "scam".
If Mr Trump loses the trial, he could be fined $250 million, banned from doing business in his home state of New York, and lose control of properties like Trump Tower.
Mr Trump denies any wrongdoing.
His court appearance on Monday was chaotic, and he had to be reined in by the judge, who urged him: “Please, just answer the questions, no speeches."
Judge Arthur Engoron also said that Mr Trump sounded like a broken record, as the Republican branded the case "a disgrace" while on the stand.
Attorney general Letitia James, who is leading the case against Mr Trump, said that he had "rambled" and "hurled insults", but that she had expected this.
"I will not be bullied, I will not be harassed," she told reporters. "This case will go on."
Mr Trump had appeared in court last week where he was fined $10,000 (£8,200) after he was deemed to have personally attacked court staff in the trial, breaching a gag order.
It comes after his sons, Eric and Donald Jr, gave evidence to the trial last week.
Mr Trump, who is currently the leading Republican 2024 presidential candidate in the polls, labelled the situation “unfair” outside the court.
“These are political operatives that I'm going to be dealing with right now. You have a racist attorney general who's made some terrible statements and you see some more that came over the wires today.
“It's a very sad situation for our country. We shouldn't have this. This is for third world countries. And it's very unfair. It's very unfair.”
During today’s court proceedings, Mr Trump hit out at a Democrat prosecutor.
He was asked by the attorney general's office about what had happened in July 2021 when control of his trust was transferred to Donald Trump Jr, his son.
“You and about every other Democrat district attorney... US attorneys etc were coming after me from 15 different sides,” Mr Trump responded from the stand.
“All democrats, all Trump haters, all cases that are not good, inappropriate and not good. Weaponisation, they call it.”
Mr Trump then hit out at the judge. ”I’m sure the judge will rule against me because he always rules against me.
"You can attack me, whatever you want, just answer the questions," Judge Engoron told the former president.
When prosecutors asked Mr Trump how his business’ financial statements were prepared, he shifted the blame to the company’s accountants.
“All I did was authorise and give people whatever was necessary for the accountants to do the statement,” he responded.
This was a similar response exercised by his sons when they gave evidence last week.
He also claimed that his properties were actually undervalued, rather than overvalued as prosecutors claimed.
Mr Trump said his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago and golf courses were worth more than stated in financial documents.
The former president said his ‘Trump’ brand also made the value of his assets higher than stated.