Former president Trump did not speak in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday, but he waged combat against prosecutors and a judge outside, potentially previewing how he may handle a series of trials while seeking the presidency in 2024. He denounced the proceedings in all-caps screeds on social media. His campaign put out opposition research on the New York attorney general, who filed the case accusing him of business fraud that went on for years, reports the Washington Post.
He stepped outside the courtroom to make a rage-fueled diatribe against the presiding judge and his clerk.
Trump he portrayed the civil trial as of a piece with the 91 criminal charges in four separate cases, as if they were part of a sweeping, concerted scheme to blunt his campaign to retake the White House — a political persecution that he predicted would backfire.
“Every time they give me a fake indictment, I go up in the polls,” Trump said to the cameras outside the courtroom as his civil trial began. “This is a disgrace.”
The trial that began Monday will not result in any jail time. The stakes were deeply personal to Trump and they could have life-changing financial consequences by disgorging the crown jewels of Trump’s real estate holdings and celebrity billionaire brand, including Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
The day offered a snapshot of the unusual dynamic that will be front and center in coming months: a former president navigating court proceedings from New York to Florida as he seeks a return to the White House. Trump has been clear about his intent to make his legal plight part of his pitch. Less clear is the impact they might have in a general election if Trump emerges as the nominee.
Trump said the series of court cases has been successful for his critics "because they took me off the campaign trail because I have been sitting in a courthouse all day long. Instead of being in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or a lot of other places I could be at.