Animated Trump told to keep volume down in trial

Donald Trump has accused the state of not revealing "all of the information that they had".

Donald Trump has accused the state of not revealing "all of the information that they had". Photo: AAP

A judge has warned Donald Trump and others at his New York civil fraud trial to keep their voices down after the former US president threw up his hands in frustration and spoke aloud to his lawyers while a witness was testifying against him.

Judge Arthur Engoron made the admonition after Trump conferred animatedly with his lawyers at the defence table during real estate appraiser Doug Larson’s second day of testimony at the Manhattan trial.

State lawyer Kevin Wallace asked Engoron to ask the defence to “stop commenting during the witness’ testimony,” adding that the “exhortations” were audible on the witness’ side of the room.

The judge then asked everyone to keep their voices down, “particularly if it’s meant to influence the testimony”.

The 2024 Republican frontrunner was in court for a second straight day on Wednesday, watching the trial that threatens to upend his real estate empire and his wealthy businessman image.

He attended the first three days but skipped last week.

On Tuesday, he left during an afternoon break to give a deposition in an unrelated lawsuit.

In a pre-trial decision last month, Engoron ruled that Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, committed years of fraud by exaggerating his asset values and net worth on annual financial statements used to make deals and get better terms on loans and insurance.

As punishment, Engoron ordered that a court-appointed receiver take control of some Trump companies, putting the future oversight of Trump Tower and other marquee properties in question, but an appeals court has blocked that for now.

Trump did not talk about the case on his way into court past TV cameras on Wednesday, saving his usual vitriol about New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit for a morning break.

Inside the courtroom, which is closed to cameras, Trump grew irritated as Larson testified.

Trump’s lawyers were seeking to undercut the state’s claims that his top corporate deputies played games to inflate the values of his properties and pad his bottom line.

In a series of questions, Trump lawyer Lazaro Fields sought to establish that Larson had, at one point, undershot the projected 2015 value of a Trump-owned Wall Street office building by $US114 million ($A180 million).

Larson said the “values were not wrong – it’s what we knew at the time”.

Trump threw up his hands during the exchange.

On Tuesday, Larson testified that he never consulted with or gave permission for the Trump Organization’s former controller, Jeffrey McConney, to cite him as an outside expert in the valuation spreadsheets he used to create Trump’s financial statements.

Fields on Wednesday accused Larson of lying, pointing to a decade-old email exchange between McConney and the appraiser.

That touched off an angry back-and-forth between the defence and state sides, with Trump lawyer Christopher Kise suggesting that Larson could risk perjuring himself and needed to be advised about his rights against self-incrimination.

State lawyer Colleen Faherty called Kise’s comments “witness intimidation”.

After Larson was escorted out of the courtroom, Kise insisted that he was trying to protect the witness’ rights while state lawyer Kevin Wallace complained that the defence was mounting “a performance” for the media.

Ultimately, Engoron allowed Larson to return and answer the question with no legal warning.

Larson said he did not recall the email.

Asked again whether he understood that McConney had asked for his input in order to carry out valuations, a weary Larson said: “That’s what it appears.”

Trump railed about that exchange during a court break.

“See what’s happened? The government lied. They just lie. They didn’t reveal all of the information that they had,” Trump said.

“They didn’t reveal all the evidence that made me totally innocent of anything that they say.”

After Larson, state lawyers called Jack Weisselberg, the son of former longtime Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg.

The son arranged financing for Trump while an executive at Ladder Capital.

Trump’s civil trial involves six claims in James’ lawsuit that were not resolved in Engoron’s pre-trial ruling, including allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records.

Engoron will decide the case, not a jury, because state law does not allow one in this type of lawsuit.

Topics: Donald Trump
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