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Judge Says Trump Won’t Be Allowed To Present Closing Argument At Civil Fraud Trial



Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron said former President Donald Trump will not be allowed to personally present his closing argument at his civil fraud trial on Thursday, after his lawyer failed to agree to certain limitations on what his client could say, according to newly filed court documents.
Trump’s attorney Chris Kise on Jan. 4 notified the court that his client intended to speak on his own behalf in closing arguments in his $370 million fraud trial.
Prosecutors argued against allowing Trump to speak, saying he is “prone to giving irrelevant speeches, lacks self-control, is evasive in responding to questions and has repeatedly violated court order for which he has been sanctioned.”
Engoron said he would allow it, on the condition that Trump agreed to limit his subject to what is permissible in a counsels closing argument, that is, commentary on the relevant, material facts that are in evidence, and application of the relevant law to those facts.”
Engoron warned that Trump may not testify. He may not comment on irrelevant matters. In particular, and without limitation, he may not deliver a campaign speech, and he may not impugn myself, my staff, plaintiff, plaintiffs staff, or the New York State Court System, none of which is relevant to this case.
“I cannot agree *(nor would I recommend he do so) to the proposed precondition and prior restraints,” Kise responded in an email made public Wednesday.
Engoron also denied Trump’s request to postpone the proceedings in light of the death of his wife Melania’s mother, Amalija Knavs, on Tuesday.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has argued former President Donald Trump and his companies should pay $370 million in penalties for their long-running financial fraud. Prosecutors also requested that Trump, Weisselberg and McConney be banned for life from participating in the real estate industry in New York, and from serving as officers or directors of New York companies. The AG also called for five-year bans on Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.
Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Thursday at 10 a.m.
TMX contributed to this article.