Unnamed sources have indicated that Former President Donald Trump is planning to deliver his own concluding statement during his civil business fraud trial in New York on Thursday, as reported by the Associated Press.
According to one of Trump’s attorneys, who conveyed the information to Judge Arthur Engoron (a figure criticized by Trump throughout the trial), the former president desires to address the court during the closing arguments. This potential move would be considered highly unusual, as defendants with legal representation seldom take the floor for closing statements.
The civil business fraud trial was initiated after New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump and three of his children in September 2022. The lawsuit alleges that Trump, along with Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, misrepresented the value of his company’s assets in financial statements on “over 200 times in 10 years.” Initially seeking $250 million in fines, James has now requested the judge to impose a fine exceeding $370 million, according to a recent brief.
Trump has consistently asserted that Letitia James is politically motivated in targeting him, having pledged to “get” the former president during her attorney general campaign.
Trump, maintaining his innocence, stated before the trial began in October, “There is no crime. The crime is against me.”
In defense, Trump’s legal team argues that the financial statements in question were unaudited estimates explicitly presented as such. They assert that the estimates of Trump’s net worth were undervalued, contrary to James’s claims.
Trump’s lawyers, Christopher Kise and Michael T. Madaio, asserted in court documents on Friday, “There have been no losses to any party, as the loans here were negotiated between very sophisticated parties. Lenders made their own informed decisions.”