Donald Trump‘s lawyer clashed in court with the judge overseeing the $250 million fraud case in New York, as he threated to seek a mistrial because of claims of bias against the former president.
But he succeeded only in making the courtroom laugh.
He referred to a media report saying the court clerk had been accused of engaging in ‘partisan political activity.’
‘We all need to take this very seriously, because the entire world is watching,’ he said.
Judge Arthur Engoron gave him short shrift.
Donald Trump’s lawyer Christopher Kise said Friday: ‘I think the defense will have to give serious consideration to seeking a mistrial’
Former President Donald Trump’s son and co-defendant Eric Trump, second from left, and lawyers, from left, Alina Habba, Clifford Robert and Christopher Kise attend the Trump Organization’s civil fraud trial
‘It’s not information, it’s an allegation,’ he said first. ‘I don’t know what you are talking about, and I will respond later.’
A prosecutor demanded to know more about the media report.
‘I’m not the internet person. I want to say it is on Breitbart maybe. It’s on a news outlet,’ Kise responded.
His reference to a hard-right website, known for pushing baseless propaganda, triggered laughter from the public gallery.
Engeron said he would leave it to others to make up their minds about the reliability Breitbart, before adding: ‘It’s a shame you descended to this level.’
The court has already ruled that Trump and his company inflated asset values when they sought loans. The trial, which is expected to run until December, is largely about deciding what penalty they should face.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in fines, as well as a ban on Trump and sons Eric and Don Jr. from owning companies in the state.
Trump himself is due to testify on Monday, followed by his daughter Ivanka on Wednesday. She is not a defendant in the case.
Meanwhile, Eric returned for a second day of pointed questions on Friday morning.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s son and co-defendant Eric Trump talks to the media outside the courtroom on Friday
The former U.S. president’s second son has testified in a New York court that he knew nothing about the financial estimates of apartment towers, golf courses and other assets that a judge has already ruled were fraudulently inflated to win favorable terms from lenders and insurers.
But emails and other evidence introduced at trial show he was involved in decisions about how to value those properties.
Confronted with more such evidence on Friday, Eric Trump said he did not recall many of those interactions or was only involved with them peripherally while he oversaw other aspects of the sprawling business.
‘I pick my phone up at five in the morning and I put it down at midnight. I have thousands of calls,’ he said with irritation under questioning by state lawyer Andrew Amer.
Earlier, Engoron rejected Ivanka Trump‘s legal maneuver to try to avoid taking the stand in her father’s $250 million fraud trial next week.
The mother-of-three argued testifying would place ‘undue hardship’ on her – and noted the scheduled testimony next week comes in the middle of a school week.
Judge Arthur Engoron had already ordered Ivanka to testify in the case, even as her lawyers asked an appeals court to overturn the decision.
But he denied a motion by her legal team seeking a stay of his decision while she appeals it to a higher court.