A judge overseeing Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial pounded his fists in frustration with the former U.S. president’s lawyers on Wednesday for what he described as redundant and “ridiculous” cross-examination of a witness.
The heated exchange occurred on the third day of trial in a lawsuit by the New York attorney general’s office that threatens to dismantle Trump’s business empire over allegations that he inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to secure better loan and insurance terms.
On Tuesday, Justice Arthur Engoron imposed a gag order on public statements about court staff after Trump took to social media to lash out at the judge’s top law clerk.
Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has denied wrongdoing and said the case is part of a political witch hunt.
Engoron alone will decide the outcome of the trial. There is no jury. He has already disciplined Trump’s lawyers for making what he said were “frivolous” arguments.
“This is ridiculous,” Engoron said on Wednesday as one of Trump’s lawyers repeatedly asked his onetime accountant the same questions for each year at issue in the case.
“All I’m asking is that you lump things together so we do not waste time,” Engoron said.
Trump, present in court for the third straight day, has repeatedly attacked New York Attorney General Letitia James and Engoron in remarks to reporters outside the courtroom, calling them “corrupt” and decrying the case as a “fraud and a sham.”