Donald Trump Takes Witness Stand in New York Civil Trial

Former President Donald Trump waits to take the witness stand at New York Supreme Court in
David Dee Delgado/Pool Photo via AP

Former President Donald Trump has taken the stand in Manhattan to testify in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s civil case against him and his two eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. 

Trump Jr. and Eric Trump both testified last week, while the former president had to take the stand to testify over a gag order violation in October for referencing law clerk Allison Greenfield. It was the second time that New York County Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron found Trump violated the gag order. 

As CNBC noted, Engoron asked Trump who he was referencing when he spoke of a “very partisan judge with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is.”

Trump said he was talking about his former attorney, Michael Cohen, who is testifying against him in the case, as well as Engoron.

“Are you sure that you didn’t mean the person on the other side, my principal law clerk?” Engoron asked, the Hill reported, but did not believe Trump’s denial and fined him $10,000. 

On Friday, a Breitbart News exposé on Greenfield took center stage in the courtroom. In the report, Breitbart News Washington Bureau Chief Matthew Boyle noted that Greenfield “appears to have violated judicial rules preventing officers of the court from making excessive political donations.” 

The defense indicated they would consider giving “serious consideration to seeking a mistrial” in light of the report, as Law360’s Stewart Bishop noted. 

“…I’ll let everyone in the room think what they will about Breitbart,” a frustrated Engoron told the courtroom. “Audible scoffs” were reportedly heard when it was revealed the defense was referencing a Breitbart News report. 

Boyle noted in his report that Engoron appeared to have been advised of Greenfield’s past donations through a third-party lawsuit: 

…it appears Engoron was advised of Greenfield’s violations in a 72-page complaint addressed to his court via email  that was also filed with the New York State Bar Association the same day he decided to issue a gag order against former President Donald Trump in his case currently playing out in Engoron’s Manhattan courtroom.

“This idea someone has notified me, absolutely untrue, absolutely untrue,” Engoron said Friday. Later in the day, Engoron placed a gag order on Trump’s attorneys from referencing “confidential communications” between him and his staff. Trump’s attorneys had complained about note-handing from Greenfield to Engoron, as Politico noted. 

Engoron ordered, “All counsel are prohibited from making any public statements, in or out of court, that refer to any confidential communications, in any form, between my staff and me,” according to a copy of the order published by the Messenger. 

“Serious sanctions” will be brought against the legal team if they violate the order, he said.


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