Former President Donald Trump ripped into the judge presiding over his $250 million civil case on Monday, saying he is “an operative” who should be disbarred.
Appearing on the steps of the courthouse during a lunch break after the morning session on the first day of the trial, Trump chided Judge Arthur Engoron
“This is a judge that should be disbarred. This is a judge that should be out of office,” Trump said. “This is a judge that some people say could be charged criminally for what he’s doing. He’s interfering with an election, and it’s a disgrace.”
Trump also directed his ire toward New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the fraud trial against him, saying she should be focused on violent crime.
James is a “disgrace to our country. Take a look at Jack Smith. Take a look at these people,” Trump said, also tearing into Smith, the special counsel in two of Trump’s criminal trials. Smith has no part in this civil trial.
“We’re going to be here for months with a judge that already made up his mind. It’s ridiculous,” Trump said. “They waste their time with this, with banks that were very happy that got all their money back. They weren’t defrauded. I’ve been defrauded.”
Trump was referring to Engoron’s summary ruling last week, when the judge sided with James that Trump had committed fraud.
In Monday morning’s opening statements, the AG’s office accused Trump and his adult sons of deceiving banks, insurers, and others by habitually misstating his wealth in financial statements.
“No matter how powerful you are, and no matter how much money you think you have, no one is above the law,” James said on her way into the courthouse.
Engoron will also decide on six claims in the lawsuit brought by James, who is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York. It’s a non-jury trial because, as Engoron pointed out, Trump’s legal team failed to check a box that it preferred a jury trial.
Trump also took aim at a clerk in Engoron’s courtroom.
“This guy’s getting away with murder. And his clerk should not be allowed to be in his ear with every single question. You should take a look at her. She hates Trump even more than he does,” Trump said.
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