During a highly charged courtroom session on Wednesday, Donald Trump, the former president, made a sudden exit from his ongoing $250 million fraud trial. This unexpected departure followed a series of legal setbacks, including a $10,000 fine and the denial of his request for a directed verdict. In a dramatic display, Trump raised his arms in frustration before storming out, prompting Secret Service agents to give chase.
The incident occurred shortly after Trump was fined for a second time due to a violation of a gag order. It also coincided with the conclusion of his lawyer’s questioning of Michael Cohen, a former associate turned adversary, who testified that Trump had not instructed him to inflate the value of his properties. The courtroom atmosphere was tense, and Trump’s actions added to the already charged atmosphere, leaving those present in shock and prompting a swift response from security personnel.
The admission, which contradicts Cohen’s earlier testimony, led defense attorney Clifford Robert to request a directed verdict, contending that his statement warranted dismissal. Judge Arthur Engoron firmly denied this request, emphasizing the abundance of evidence in the case. Additionally, the judge expressed his lack of regard for Cohen as a significant witness, stating that there was ample evidence to support the case and fill the courtroom.
During the redirect, Cohen clarified that Trump had instructed him to ‘reverse engineer’ the value of his assets, but he had not been asked to inflate the figures specifically. He compared Trump to a mob boss who gives indirect orders. At the end of Cohen’s testimony, Robert requested a directed verdict again, which was once again denied. The day ended with another setback for Trump, as he was fined $10,000 for violating a partial gag order by making comments to reporters during a break in the trial.