Donald Trump is up against it in the New York fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
So, it was not exactly a surprise to see Trump hit with another $10,000 fine, but this can start to get complicated for Trump moving forward.
Trump continues to poke the bear in this case, even with a limited gag order on him.
He had already been fined $5,000 for his attacks against court staffers, but that did not stop him from talking to the media and slamming the proceedings again.
A report popped up that quoted Trump:
“This judge is a very partisan judge with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside of him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is.”
The question was if Trump was referring to the court clerk, which he had been fined and warned about in the past, or Michael Cohen.
Engoron called Trump to the stand, recited the quote, and then asked Trump if he had said those words, to which Trump acknowledged that he had.
Engoron then asked Trump if he was sure he meant Cohen and not the clerk, who sits next to the judge during the trial. Again, Trump said he was sure that he was referring to Cohen.
Trump went back to his seat, Engoron waited a few moments, then stated:
“As the trier of fact, I find the witness is not credible.”
Trump was then issued a fine and warned not to do it again by Engoron, or “it will be worse.”
Engoron hinted that not only will the fines be far more severe, but Trump could also wind up being tossed in jail.
Trump was furious when he walked out of the courtroom, mumbling “Unbelievable” to no one in particular.
When Trump addressed the media, he was still livid that the case was not tossed after Cohen admitted that Trump never specifically told him to manipulate his financial numbers.
In Cohen’s testimony, Trump stated:
“He said, ‘I lied.’ numerous times
“And then he said, as per the best television show you’ll ever imagine, he said, me, ‘I did not ask him to manipulate figures.’ That should be the end of the case.”
Trump has to forget about winning this case with Engoron sitting on that bench because it is clear that the judge has already made up his mind.
His attorneys would be well-served to tell him to either stop attending the trial or to sit on his hands and keep his mouth shut, as well as telling him to stop posting on social media.
Trump is playing to his base, but he could wind up in some real trouble here.
He needs to live to fight another day, which means winning this case on appeal. These outbursts and attacks on social media will not serve Trump well during that process.
I cannot say for sure that Trump would win on appeal, but at the very least, he does have a case of a biased judge who predetermined the outcome to request a new trial. It is also quite clear that some of the information used against him, such as the valuation of Mar-a-Lago, is just flat-out wrong.
Maybe the question is if Trump is actually trying to get thrown into jail. Perhaps this is his campaign strategy to ignite more fundraising and to get another boost in polling based on how people have reacted to the indictment news in the past.
The fact this is only the first of six or more trials for Trump is a scary proposition for his attorneys. If he is losing it like this in the fraud case, what will happen when he goes before Judge Chutkan in the January 6 case?