Trump's Civil Fraud Trial: Unexpected Outburst and Arrest in Manhattan Courtroom
In an unexpected turn of events during former President Donald Trump's ongoing civil fraud trial in lower Manhattan, a New York state court employee was arrested after attempting to approach Trump during the proceedings. The incident, which took place on Wednesday, October 18, has added another layer of drama to an already high-profile case.
Jenny Hannigan, the court employee in question and a secretary for a judge in Queens, was charged with contempt of court after she disrupted the proceedings in the Manhattan Supreme Court. Hannigan made her way toward the front of the courtroom, yelling out to Trump. Before she could reach the former President and his legal team, court officers intervened and stopped her. Lucian Chalfen, the Office of Court Administration spokesman, confirmed that neither Trump nor any of the attending parties were in danger during the incident.
The outburst occurred just before noon. Hannigan, dressed in a black dress and matching blazer, was escorted out of the courtroom. Although some reporters inside the courtroom claimed they did not hear Hannigan's shouts, she was later overheard speaking loudly in the courthouse hallway. Following her vocal disturbance, a group of officers surrounded her, asking her to lower her voice. Despite their efforts, Hannigan continued to draw attention, yelling for help until she was eventually handcuffed.
When questioned about the incident later that day, Trump appeared unaware of the commotion or the subsequent arrest. "Who got arrested? We didn’t know anything about it," he told the gathered reporters.
Inside the courtroom, the trial continued without further interruptions. Doug Larson, a real estate appraiser, provided his testimony. However, Trump seemed visibly agitated during Larson's testimony, frequently muttering to his lawyers and making gestures. This behavior prompted an objection from a lawyer representing the New York Attorney General's office, leading to a request for Trump to refrain from commenting during the witness's testimony. Justice Arthur Engoron, overseeing the case, issued a stern warning to all present in the courtroom, emphasizing the importance of maintaining decorum, especially when attempting to influence a witness's testimony.
A significant point of contention arose when Trump's legal team accused Larson of lying on the stand. The dispute centered around whether Larson had collaborated with Jeff McConney, a co-defendant in the case and the Trump Organization's controller. Trump's attorneys produced an email as evidence of their communication, challenging Larson's claims. Larson denied the accusations, but the defense team advised him to consult with his attorney regarding potential perjury risks.
The trial itself revolves around allegations that the Trump Organization inflated the value of its properties for loan and insurance purposes. Larson, an executive vice president at the real estate firm Newmark, testified about his appraisal of Trump’s 40 Wall St. property in 2015. The Attorney General’s office alleges that the Trump Organization exaggerated its value, claiming it was worth $735.4 million, despite a lender-ordered appraisal valuing it at $540 million.
In conclusion, as the trial continues to unfold, this unexpected outburst and arrest have added another layer of intrigue to an already closely-watched case, highlighting the intense emotions and high stakes involved.