The judge presiding over the civil trial that stemmed from NY Attorney General Letitia James’s lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and his businesses has rescinded the offer from the court for the 2024 Republican frontrunner to deliver his closing argument.
Wednesday, Judge Arther Engoron rescinded permission for the former president to make a closing argument in the Thursday proceedings. The judge initially approved Trump’s request to make the closing statement but said the former president would be required to limit his remarks to “commentary on the relevant, material facts that are in evidence, and application of the relevant law to those facts.”
Engoron said Donald Trump would not be allowed to introduce new evidence or comment on “irrelevant matters” and said he would not be permitted to “deliver a campaign speech” or speak negatively of the attorney general or court staff.
However, Chris Kise, Trump’s attorney, said in an email to Engoron that Trump has “been wrongfully demeaned and belittled by an out of control, politically motivated Attorney General” and should be allowed to “speak about the things that must be spoken about.”
Kise additionally requested to postpone closing arguments and cited the death of the former president’s mother-in-law, Amalija Knavs, whom Kise said Trump “was very close to.”
Melania Trump, the former first lady, announced the death of her mother late Tuesday on X.
Although Engoron said he was “sorry to hear the sad news,” he denied the request.
Engoron imposed a deadline for Trump to abide by his rules
Engoron then set a deadline for Kise to agree, on Trump’s behalf, to abide by his rules for the closing argument. Kise missed that deadline.
“Not having heard from you by the third extended deadline (noon today), I assume that Mr. Trump will not agree to the reasonable, lawful limits I have imposed as a precondition to giving a closing statement above and beyond those given by his attorneys, and that, therefore, he will not be speaking in court tomorrow,” wrote Engoron in an email.
Engoron presides over the trial, which stems from James’ lawsuit against Trump, his businesses, and his family. James accused Donald Trump of deceiving banks and inflating his financial statements. AG James filed the case against the former president “under a consumer protection statute that denies the right to a jury,” said a Trump spokesperson.
“There was never an option to choose a jury trial,” said the spokesperson. “It is unfortunate that a jury won’t be able to hear how absurd the merits of this case are and conclude no wrongdoing ever happened.”
Former President Trump, as well as his family, have denied any wrongdoing. Trump has repeatedly said his assets were instead undervalued. The former president has repeatedly said that his financial statements had disclaimers and requested that the banks evaluate the numbers.