Former President Donald Trump engaged in a preparatory session with his legal team on Sunday ahead of a scheduled testimony in New York. According to sources familiar with the matter, Trump displayed a range of emotions during the preparation, from frustration regarding the case to a positive mental approach, noting his potential effectiveness as a witness if he maintained focus.
Trump’s motorcade was observed arriving at the New York State Supreme Court in lower Manhattan. Proceedings were set to commence at 10 a.m. ET, with Trump slated as the day’s sole witness.
Senior Enforcement Counsel Kevin Wallace of the New York attorney general’s office was assigned to lead the direct examination. Wallace, having previously deposed Trump and delivered the state’s opening statement, had remarked, “The defendants were lying year after year,” highlighting the gravity of the allegations.
Wallace and Trump had previously clashed during an April deposition, a dynamic underscored by a released transcript revealing tensions over lengthy responses and evidence presentation.
Before entering the courtroom, New York Attorney General Letitia James anticipated Trump would engage in diversions during his testimony. However, she emphasized the importance of facts and numerical evidence in the case.
As the hearing began, Trump, donning a navy blue suit, affirmed his commitment to honesty. He expressed disdain for the trial, calling the financial statement discrepancies and the racial remarks attributed to him “ridiculous.”
Less than ten minutes into his testimony, Trump voiced criticism of the various investigations he has faced post-presidency. Judge Arthur Engoron frequently interjected, urging Trump to provide succinct answers and avoid political commentary.
Engoron’s interventions continued as Trump’s replies verged into political statements, leading to a stern admonition from the judge to Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, to restrain his client’s responses.
During the examination, Trump admitted to overvaluing certain properties but also suggested that his overall net worth was underestimated, attributing significant worth to his brand. Trump’s confidence in his business acumen was apparent, but he conceded that the valuations of his triplex apartment in Trump Tower and his Seven Springs estate had required adjustment.
Despite acknowledging overvaluations, Trump resisted the prosecution’s straightforward questioning technique, emphasizing the subjective nature of real estate valuations.
Trump also referenced his presidential duties when discussing his financial records from 2021, implying his focus was on national issues rather than personal business matters. Upon clarification that he was not in office in 2021, Trump acknowledged this fact without elaboration.