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Trump becomes the first ex-president to testify as a defendant, faces off with judge in New York

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Trump becomes the first ex-president to testify as a defendant, faces off with judge in New York

The former US president Donald Trump took the stand in a New York civil fraud case on Monday, where he and his company, the Trump Organisation, are accused of inflating the value of their properties by billions of dollars to secure favourable loans and insurance policies.

The trial, which could have serious consequences for Trump’s real estate empire and his political ambitions, saw him clash repeatedly with the judge, accuse him of making “fraudulent” rulings, and denounce the New York state attorney general as a “political hack”.

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It was a rare legal spectacle, as Trump became the first ex-president to testify as a defendant in a court case in over a century.

Trump, who has hinted at running for the White House again in 2024, insisted that the financial statements of the Trump Organisation were “very conservative” and based on “market conditions”.

The trial is expected to last for several weeks, as the New York state attorney general, Letitia James, seeks to prove that Trump and his company engaged in a “systematic” scheme to deceive lenders and insurers about the value of their properties.

James, a Democrat who has been a vocal critic of Trump, has also launched a criminal investigation into the Trump Organisation, along with the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr.

The case is being closely watched by the public and the media, as it could have implications for Trump’s political future, his business reputation, and his legal exposure.

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