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Inside Donald Trump‘s Courtroom Testimonies: A Closer Look at Key Trials and Controversies
Donald Trump has testified in court as the owner of a football team, a casino builder, and an airline purchaser. In a statement, he blew the whistle that as President, he saved “millions of lives” by preventing nuclear war. He expressed concerns about the dangers of tossed fruit for the second time.
Affected by decades of trials and legal controversies, Donald Trump is now prepared to reprise his role as a witness in extraordinary circumstances: a former Republican president fighting to save his real estate empire, a journey that led him to stardom and the White House.
He is set to testify in his New York civil fraud case on Monday, taking a stand in an intensely private matter that threatens control over major assets like Donald Trump Tower. This anticipated testimony follows the testimony of his eldest sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who testified last week. Ivanka, his oldest daughter, will give a testimony on Wednesday.
According to court records and Associated Press coverage, Donald Trump has testified in court in at least eight trials since 1986. He has been questioned in over a dozen statements and regulatory hearings under oath.
In 1985, he was summoned to testify before Congress as the owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals, testifying in a state disciplinary hearing by his attorney and confidant Roy Cohn, leading to Cohn’s dismissal. When Donald Trump first became well-known in 1986, he informed the New Jersey property Control Commission that a plan to construct an overpass next to his property “would be a disaster. It would be a catastrophe.”
These testimonies, captured in thousands of pages of transcripts and some videotapes, hint at the angles Trump could take while testifying on Monday. They illustrate parallels between Trump as a witness and Trump as a president and a current candidate. For years, his courtroom style of grandstanding echoes his political understanding: arrogance, charisma, defensiveness, aggression, sharp language, and distraction. He is confrontational and flamboyant but sometimes vague and inclined to hedge or deflect.
In testifying against the USFL’s disbelief lawsuit in 1986, Trump denounced accusations that he had spied on NFL officials in one of the “greatest rematches for you.” Facing allegations by two individuals seeking to remove him from the failed Riverboat Casino Project in 1999, Trump professed ignorance: “I was stunned by the whole case. I didn’t know who these people were.”
Trump was called to explain comments made outside the court regarding the New York case last month, where the judge said he had violated a limited ban order.
Prior to initiating his triumphant presidential campaign two years ago, in 2013, Trump last testified in a courtroom in a trial over the terms of a contract for a hotel and condominium tower bought as an investment by an 87-year-old Chicago widow. As his testimony progressed, Trump became more and more animated, once raising his arms and shouting, “And then he sued me. This is unbelievable!”
In 1990, trying to defend his company in a case where he tried to avoid providing nearly 200 undocumented Polish workers pension benefits for breaking a building to make way for Trump Tower, Trump testified. A year later, he was back in Manhattan, testifying against someone who claimed to have a contract to develop Trump’s board game and was owed 25% of the profits from “Trump: The Game.”
Trump won another case in 2005, where he testified that a construction company had taken an “idiotic” $1.5 million additional charge from him for work on a golf course in Westchester County, New York.
When asked about his past business and financial dealings, Trump sometimes evaded responsibility and blame. In a statement regarding a failed condo project in Florida in 2013, Trump blamed an employee for paperwork, claiming the employee was developing a project while he wasn’t. Another contradiction in Trump’s statements is his incredulity, as he is taken so seriously in promoting his real estate projects.
In December 2007, testifying in his case against a journalist, Trump said, “You always want to make the best possible investment in a property that you can.” He was accusing them of trying to diminish his property. “No different from any other real estate developer, any other businessman, any politician.”