(Reuters) — Donald Trump testified Monday that his company did not provide accurate estimates of many of his properties in a rambling and defiant performance on the witness stand in a civil fraud trial in New York.
The former U.S. president said his company undervalued his Mar-a-Lago estate and Doral golf course in Florida and overvalued his Trump Tower apartment, among other assets, but sought to minimize the importance of the estimates, which state lawyers said were inflated to win better financing terms.
“It wasn’t important. You’ve made it important, but it wasn’t,” Mr. Trump said of the estimates.
Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled those estimates to be fraudulent. New York state lawyers argued in their lawsuit that the estimates misled lenders and insurers, earning him $100 million and exaggerating his wealth by $2 billion.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly said the case is “witch hunt” and has accused Judge Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James of being politically biased against him.
He kept up those complaints on the witness stand, where he accused legal authorities of paying unduly close attention to his business after he won the 2016 presidential election.
“I’m sure the judge will rule against me because he always rules against me,” he said.
“This is a very unfair trial,” he added later.
Trump’s remarks drew a sharp reprimand from Engoron, who threatened to cut his testimony short.
“Mr. Kise, can you control your client? This is not a political rally. This is a courtroom,” Judge Engoron asked Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise.
Ms. James brushed aside Trump’s attacks.
“At the end of the day, the only thing that matters are the facts and the numbers. The numbers, my friends, don’t lie,” Ms. James said outside the courthouse before Trump’s testimony.