Trump trial day 2: Judge issues gag order after Trump posts about clerk

The former president is facing allegations of defrauding lenders.

ByEmily Shapiro, Peter Charalambous, Aaron Katersky, Olivia Rubin, and Lucien Bruggeman ABCNews logo
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Judge issues gag order after Trump posts about clerk
Judge Engoron admonished Donald Trump for a post he made this afternoon on his Truth Social platform regarding Engoron's clerk.

Former President Trump told reporters he plans to return to court on Wednesday as he left the courtroom following a closed proceeding Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Arthur Engoron held multiple closed proceedings during the afternoon after issuing a warning to Trump not post anything to social media about his staff.

Neither Trump nor New York Attorney General Letitia James answered questions about the nature of the closed sessions when they left the courthouse at the end of the day.

Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom with is legal team before the continuation of a civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court, Oct. 3, 2023, in New York.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, POOL)

Earlier, Mazars accountant Donald Bender underwent a forceful cross examination by Trump lawyer Jesus Suarez. Mixing criticism of Bender with praise of Trump -- who Suarez described as "the leader of the free world" and "possibly even the 47th president of the United States" -- Suarez attempted to paint Blender as an incompetent accountant who "messed up" and landed Trump in court.

As part of his cross examination, Suarez questioned Bender about why he failed to raise concerns about Trump inaccurately overstating the size of his triplex apartment in Manhattan's Trump Tower.

"Do you think two thirds of his [triplex] disappearing is not something you should have said to the leader of the free world?" Suarez asked during a portion of his questioning that was so theatrical that it prompted occasional laughter in the courtroom.

FILE - Accountant Donald Bender leaving Manhattan Supreme Court after testifying at the Trump Organization trial on Tuesday Nov. 22, 2022, in New York.
(Molly Crane-Newman/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

An attorney with for the New York attorney general's office spent the first hour of direct examination methodically walking Bender through the Trump Organization's financial documents from 2012 through 2016.

As he addressed each document, Bender reiterated that the Trump Organization and its trustees were responsible for the accounting principles used in the records, the disclosures in reports, and the information from which the reports were based.

Bender testified at length Monday about his involvement in compiling Trump's statements of financial condition between 2011 and 2020, which he described as "balance [sheets] of Mr. Trump's assets and liabilities."

Bender said the standards and inputs for the statements were largely decided by Trump Organization executives.

"That was the Trump Organization's responsibility," Bender said about the accounting standard used in the statements.

The state appears to be using Bender's testimony to not only get Trump's financials statements into evidence, but also to demonstrate the relatively consistent process the Trump Organization used to compile and finalize their statements of financial condition over a decade.

Trump has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have described him as a "master of finding value where others do not," arguing that Trump's alleged inflated valuations were a product of his business skill.