Trump rejects conditions for court fraud closing argument, won’t be allowed to speak

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves after speaking during the “Commit to Caucus” rally at the North Iowa Events Center in Mason City, Iowa, on January 5, 2024.

Christian Monterrosa | AFP | Getty Images

Donald Trump was barred from giving his closing arguments in person at his New York civil fraud trial on Thursday because he would not agree to limits on what he could say, a judge told the former president’s lawyer in a new letter.

Judge Arthur Engoron said in a letter to Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise on Wednesday that because he had not heard from Kise that he would agree to the terms the judge imposed on Trump, Engoron assumed Trump would not comply.

Engoron also declined an offer by Trump to delay his closing remarks by nearly three weeks because his mother-in-law died on Tuesday.

Engoron’s order came after a series of contentious emails between him and Kise regarding Trump’s stated plan to deliver some of the defense’s closing arguments Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The judge placed a number of restrictions on what Trump would be allowed to say, but Kise resisted those conditions in several emails after receiving several extensions of the deadline for a ruling.

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“I will not discuss this again,” Engoron Kise wrote in an email at 11:54 a.m. ET Wednesday, which appeared in a filing on the case file.

“Get over it and leave it alone. It’s now or never,” added the judge. “You have until noon, seven minutes from today. I WILL NOT GIVE ANY FURTHER EXTENSIONS.”

At 12:12 Engoron wrote Kise again.

“Having not heard from you by the third extended deadline (noon today), I assume that Mr. Trump will not agree to reasonable, legal limits as a prerequisite to closing arguments beyond those presented by his lawyers, and that, therefore, in court tomorrow he will not speak,” wrote Engoron.

CNBC reached out to Kise and other Trump lawyers for comment.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses Trump, his two adult sons and the Trump Organization of understating the real estate values ​​in order to fraudulently inflate his declared net worth and obtain cheaper loans and other financial benefits. .

James asked Engoron to fine him $370 million and ban the former president from working in the New York real estate industry for life.

The AG also wants Trump barred from serving as an officer or director of a New York corporation.

– Additional reporting from CNBC Kevin Breuninger

This is the latest news. Watch for updates.

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