Drama Unfolds in Trump’s Closing Argument as Judge Sets Conditions in New York Civil Fraud Trial

Judge Arthur Engoron
(msnbc)

During former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York, a decision has been reached regarding his closing argument. Notably, Trump will not personally deliver his closing argument, as Judge Engoron has emphasized the importance of adhering to “relevant, material facts.”

Judge Engoron, presiding over the NYC Court, conveyed his expectation via an email to Christopher Kise on January 10, expressing his assumption that the 77-year-old former business magnate would not agree to the “lawful limits.” Consequently, Engoron stated that Trump “will not be speaking in court tomorrow,” as reported by the New York Post.

This development follows earlier communication between Kise and the judge. On January 4, Kise informed the court via email that “President Trump plans to present argument at closing as well.” This disclosure came after the attorneys’ arguments on January 10 in a $370 million lawsuit. The New York Attorney General’s Office, responsible for handling the case, raised objections to Trump delivering a closing argument.

Attorney Andrew Amer argued that Trump “is prone to giving irrelevant speeches, lacks self-control, is evasive in responding to questions, and has repeatedly violated court orders for which he has been sanctioned.” Judge Engoron considered allowing Trump to deliver a closing argument but imposed a condition. He would approve the unusual action only if Trump agreed “to limit his subjects to what is permissible in a counsel’s closing argument.”

This limitation encompassed commentary on the relevant, material facts presented as evidence and the application of relevant legal principles to those facts. Kise declined to accept this condition, responding via email, “I cannot agree *(nor would I recommend he do so) to the proposed precondition and prior restraints”, per The Hill.

Engoron issued a stern warning, stating that he would interrupt Trump and reprimand him if he veered off-topic during his closing speech. Furthermore, he threatened to prevent Trump from testifying in future court proceedings if he violated any rules. Engoron asserted that he would instruct court officers to remove Trump from the courtroom immediately and impose a fine of at least $50,000 if Trump breached the gag order issued earlier in the trial, which prohibited discussion of the judge’s staff by Trump and his legal team.

In response to these conditions, Kise argued that they were riddled with ambiguities, which could lead to misinterpretation or inadvertent violation. Tensions escalated through a series of email exchanges between Kise and Engoron.

Kise also requested a postponement of Trump’s closing statement due to the passing of Trump’s mother-in-law, but Engoron declined, reaffirming his stringent criteria. In a January 10 email, Kise expressed his discontent, stating, “This is very unfair, your honor. You are not allowing President Trump, who has been wrongfully demeaned and belittled by an out of control, politically motivated Attorney General, to speak about the things that must be spoken about.”

Engoron remained firm in his response, stating, “I won’t debate this yet again. Take it or leave it. Now or never.” He imposed a strict deadline, allowing no further extensions beyond noon, emphasizing the finality of his decision.

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