Donald Trump may be melting down on the witness stand, but you wouldn’t know that if you were just following what he and his legal team have to say about what’s going on in the courtroom where he’s testifying in a $250 million civil trial that threatens his ability to do business in New York.
During his lunch break, Trump went on Truth Social and posted a quote from Judge Arthur Engoron. “No, I’m not here to hear what [President Trump] has to say,” Trump claimed Engoron had said. Outside the courthouse, Trump attorney Alina Habba echoed that. “’I’m not here to hear what he has to say,’” she declaimed. “Then why exactly am I being paid as an attorney and why exactly are taxpayer dollars being used in this courtroom? The answer is very clear: Because Miss James wants to stand right here like she did this morning and call my client a liar,” Habba said, referring to New York Attorney General Letitia James.
What the judge actually said, according to reporter Adam Klasfeld, who’s in the courtroom, is: “I'm not here to hear what he has to say. He's here to answer questions.” In other words, Trump doesn’t just get to rant and ramble as if he were at one of his campaign rallies. He’s there to answer specific questions with legal significance, and that’s it. Which is what any witness in a trial is supposed to do.
Habba went on to go full scenery-chewing victim:
“You have a right to hire a lawyer who can say something when they see something wrong,” she said. “But I was told to sit down today. I was yelled at, and I’ve had a judge who is unhinged slamming a table. Let me be very clear: I don’t tolerate that in my life. I’m not going to tolerate it here. And you know what? You shouldn’t either.”
Reasonable people know that Habba is not a reliable source here, but we can’t see what happened. It’s her emotional claims versus the matter-of-fact accounts coming from reporters in the courtroom.
As Meidas Touch’s Ron Filipkowski observed, “The NY trial continues to show, day after day, why Trump’s criminal trials MUST be televised. Fox & Newsmax won’t cover the trial. During every break, Trump & his lawyers come out and lie about what just took place, and millions believe their version because that’s all they get.”
Exactly that. It’s reasonable to say that many defendants deserve to be shielded from being recorded and broadcast on what may be some of their worst days. But with Trump, who has a whole troop of flying monkeys out on Fox News and One America News and Newsmax repeating his lies about what’s happening in the courtroom, the public interest requires that we have an immediate and accurate record of what was said, and one that is accessible to everyone.