Combative Trump Brings Campaign Flair to Courthouse

Delivering fiery comments for TV during trial breaks could be the plan for upcoming trials
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2023 7:40 PM CDT
Combative Trump Brings Campaign Spirit to Courthouse
Former President Donald Trump speaks with journalists as his day in court ends Monday in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Former President Trump has complained that court dates will pull him off the campaign trail, but he addressed the scheduling conflict on Monday by combining a campaign-rally attitude with a defendant's righteous anger at the New York courthouse where his civil fraud trial began. The presidential candidate found the row of television cameras lining a hallway outside the courtroom tough to pass up, Politico reports, stopping several times to denounce the proceeding, the prosecutor, and the judge in terms familiar to followers. The strategy could be a preview of how Trump will handle the series of trials he faces, per the Washington Post.

Trump also slammed the goings-on in all-caps social media posts ahead of time, and his campaign staff released opposition research on the New York Attorney General Tish James, who was in the courtroom. "Every time they give me a fake indictment, I go up in the polls," he told the cameras, calling the case against him "election interference." Trump sneered at James as he passed while leaving for lunch, per the AP; when James left, she was smiling. He was under no obligation to attend the session but said outside court that he did so because "I wanted to watch this witch hunt myself."

Still, Trump looked straight ahead, with his arms crossed, turned away from a screen when it showed a prosecutor's presentation. His mood brightened near the end of the day, per NBC News, when Judge Arthur Engoron told prosecutors that parts of the testimony by Donald Bender, Trump's former accountant, were redundant. To be relevant to the current case, the judge said, those statements need to be connected to contracts within the statute of limitations. Christopher Kise, one of Trump's lawyers, said he agreed, and the defendant responded with two thumbs-up. When it was over, reporters asked Trump if he'd return Tuesday, per CNN. "We may, I'd love not to," he said. "I'd love to be campaigning instead of doing this." (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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