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CHICAGO - A federal judge scolded Donald Trump and an attorney questioning the developer-turned-TV personality to stop their verbal sparring during his testimony at a civil trial on Wednesday.
Trump is accused of making false promises to an investor in his Trump International Hotel
The warning came during Trump's his second day of testimony. Trump and the plaintiff's attorney, Shelly Kulwin, repeatedly talked over each other. A visibly agitated Trump scowled, and Kulwin rolled his eyes at Trump's answers.
After an hour, Judge Amy St. Eve told the men, "This is not a boxing match."
After jurors left the room, the judge said Trump's testimony would run into a third day if the sparring continued. She told them, "Let's get control of ourselves."
The crux of the case is whether, as the plaintiff alleges, Trump remained hands-on in the development of the Chicago tower and planned all along to offer a profit-sharing plan to woo buyers and then to renege on it after they bought in.
Defence attorneys have tried to portray Trump as a big-picture executive who delegated the decision about pulling the profit-sharing plan to others.
The trial stems from a lawsuit filed by the investor, Jacqueline Goldberg, 87. She agreed in 2006 to buy two condos for around $1 million apiece at the 92-story luxury building. It boasts more than 300 hotel rooms and nearly 500 condominiums in a prime location next to the Chicago River and just two blocks from Michigan Avenue.
The lawsuit alleges breach of contract and deceptive practices. It seeks the return of a $500,000 deposit Goldberg made for the properties and other unspecified damages.
Goldberg's legal team has portrayed the sale of the condos as a bait-and-switch, where Trump and his executives sought to make the properties more attractive investments by telling would-be buyers they would reap a percentage of profits from banquet hall rentals, food sales, laundry, parking and other services.
Trump hosts the reality television show, "The Apprentice."
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