The proceedings are proceeding as you would expect:
Before a break in the proceedings, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron suggested that he might remove former president Donald Trump from the witness stand if Trump did not adhere to court rules by answering questions directly.
Shortly after that warning, Engoron raised his voice to a pair of Trump lawyers, Christopher Kise and Alina Habba, when they stood up to argue that the former president should be able to make his case without restriction. Kise said the civil business fraud trial is a “unique situation” that calls for Trump to have leeway to elaborate.
“Mr. Kise, Ms. Habba, sit down!” Engoron said, his voice booming through the gallery.
Trump appeared exasperated as he waited for the legal bickering to end. Then, unprompted, Trump used the witness stand as a platform to gripe.
“This is a very unfair trial. Very, very. And I hope the public is watching,” he said.
Engoron said that if he removed Trump from the stand, he might find “negative inferences” against Trump on the subjects of the examination by Kevin Wallace, an attorney with the New York attorney general’s office.
A negative inference can be made when a person on the witness stand fails to provide their expected evidence or testimony. It allows the court to presume that the individual avoided providing evidence or testimony because it was unfavorable to one of the parties.
“I beseech you to control him if I can’t,” Engoron said to Kise. “If you can’t, I will excuse him and draw any negative inference that I can.”
After the break, Trump returned to the courtroom and, at least initially, gave more direct answers to the questions he was asked.
As this reflects, Donald Trump is Not Mad. Please do not print that he is mad:
It’s difficult to overstate how angry this civil fraud trial makes Trump, those close to him say. Even more than his criminal cases. Some advisers have warned him against appearing so often in the courtroom, but he has been determined to do so. He sees it as his brand — and his children’s inheritance — on the line.
If it worked for Sam Brankman-Fried, surely it will work…I’ll come in again.
And since we could use some comic relief, imagine a lawyer in 2023 thinking that Trump will compensate them for their services:
I do not strictly speaking condone fraud but some marks certainly deserve it more than others.