Having repeatedly vented his frustration about his ongoing New York fraud trial online and to the press, Donald Trump has reportedly begun to show signs of his growing exasperation inside the courtroom.
As the trial entered its third day, the former president is reported to have grumbled, shrugged and audibly groaned in court, after being chastised by the judge in the case for “disparaging” remarks made about a court staff member.
Along with his adult sons, Mr Trump is accused of defrauding banks and insurers by overvaluing properties in the Trump Organization portfolio by billions of dollars.
The lawsuit is being brought by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, though New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron – who is overseeing the trial – has already ruled Mr Trump is liable for fraud.
The ruling could, if upheld on appeal, cost the former president control of his signature skyscraper – Trump Tower – and other properties.
On Tuesday, the former president was hit with a gagging order after denigrating a key court staffer in a social media post, described by judge Engoron as “disparaging, untrue and personally-identifying”.
According to reporter Jose Pagliery from The Daily Beast, who was present in court on the third day of the trial, Mr Trump “began to make exasperated remarks inside the court… grumble and angrily folded his arms while staring at the judge.”
Mr Trump displayed further negative body language throughout proceedings on Wednesday, at one point reportedly throwing his arms up in the air and shaking his head.
The Daily Beast reported that he then “let out an annoyed sigh and slumped forward, stretching his dark blue suit jacket”. He later complained that he could not hear the testimony of one of the witnesses on the stand.
Despite his gagging order – which specifically forbids him “posting, emailing or speaking publicly” about members of court staff – Mr Trump continued with his online tirade about the case more generally on Wednesday morning.
Writing on his social media platform TruthSocial, he again accused Ms James of being “corrupt” and described the trial as a “witch hunt”.
“I am not even entitled, under any circumstances, to a JURY. This Witch Hunt cannot be allowed to continue. It is Election Interference and the start of Communism right here in America!” he wrote.
However, it has been reported that Mr Trump did have the opportunity to request a jury, but his attorneys chose not to.