Former US President and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump departs after speaking during a “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 has been barred from personally making a closing argument at his New York civil fraud trial on Thursday because he would not agree to limitations on what he could say, a judge told the former president’s lawyer in a new letter.
Judge Arthur Engoron told Trump’s lawyer Chris Kise in a letter Wednesday that because he had not heard back from Kise agreeing to terms the judge imposed on Trump, Engoron assumed Trump would not comply.
Engoron’s order came after a contentious series of emails between him and Kise over Trump’s stated plan to give some of the defense’s closing arguments Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The judge had set a series of limitations on what Trump would be allowed to say, but Kise in several emails resisted those conditions after being given several extensions of a deadline to make a decision.
“I won’t debate this again,” Engoron wrote Kise in an email at 11:54 a.m. ET on Wednesday, which appeared in a filing on the case’s docket.
“Take it over leave it. Now or never,” the judge added. “You have until noon, seven minutes from now. I WILL NOT GRANT ANY FURTHER EXTENSIONS.”
At 12:12 p.m., Engoron wrote Kise again.
“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 as a precondition to giving a closing argument above and beyond those given by his attorneys, and that, therefore, he will not be speaking in court tomorrow,” Engoron wrote.
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 in the case of misstating the true values of real estate assets to fraudulently inflate his stated net worth, and to obtain more favorable loans and other financial benefits.
James has asked Engoron to fine $370 million and ban the former president from working in New York’s real-estate industry for life.
The AG also wants Trump banned from serving as an officer or director of a New York corporation.
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