Judge allows Donald Trump to speak at closing arguments at NY civil fraud trial

Former President Donald Trump at civil fraud trial at NYS court in New York on October 2^ 2023
Former President Donald Trump at civil fraud trial at NYS court in New York on October 2^ 2023

On Thursday in the New York civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump, Judge Arthur Engoron allowed Trump to speak at closing arguments, despite having denied a request from Trump to speak a day earlier. After Trump’s defense gave their closing argument in the morning, the former president left the courtroom and held a press conference at the Trump Building in New York. The prosecution delivered its closing arguments Thursday afternoon.

Trump was allowed to address the court, and Engoron directed Trump to promise that he would limit his comments to the facts of the case, to which Trump replied the case “goes outside just the facts.” Trump, who spoke for about five minutes, again accused Attorney General Laetitia James of being politically motivated in bringing the case against him and the Trump Organization, calling his financial statements “perfect” and saying the case is a “political witch hunt,” and shared his criticism of Judge Engoron but said the judge’s decision “may surprise some people. We’ll see what happens.” Trump’s attorney Chris Kise later delivered closing arguments for about two hours. ”

After he left the courtroom, Trump told reporters the case is a “political witch hunt the likes of which nobody has ever seen before. They owe me damages for what they’ve done. We’re a very innocent company. What we’ve run is a great company. That’s been proven. A very highly successful company.” 

In the courtroom, Trump’s attorneys added that James attempted to “intimidate” Trump and other executives in his organization, and Kise told Engoron that his decision could have an impact on other large corporations in New York. Trump and the Trump Organization, headed by his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., face a potential $250 million penalty for committing fraud. They were found guilty in the fall of inflating the value of their real estate properties.

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