Judge Denies Trump Requests to Give Closing Speech, Delay for Mother-in-Law’s Death

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(Headline USA) A far-left, Trump-deranged judge denied the former president two final requests on the cusp of ending a trial that is almost certain to be appealed on the grounds of mistrial.

Donald Trump had expected to deliver the closing argument himself in his New York civil business fraud trial.

However, judge Arthur Engoron rescinded permission n Wednesday after Trump’s lawyers objected to the judge’s insistence that the defendant stick to “relevant” matters.

Trump attorney Alina Habba responded: “Is anyone surprised anymore?”

Engoron’s subjective opinions have been a major factor throughout the trial, starting with his unilateral finding that Trump had defrauded lenders even though the lenders themselves begged to differ, and his decision to undercut the value of Trump’s property holdings, including Mar-a-Lago, using his own measures rather than their market value.

Engoron also arbitrarily imposed a gag order on Trump, a highly unorthodox move for a civil trial considering the purpose generally is to prevent the undue influence of a criminal-trial jury. In this case, it was done in reaction to Trump’s criticism of the prima-donna judge himself and his radical leftist staff.

If the judge’s ruling on Thursday were to stand, it could potentially cost Trump hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties and strip him of his ability to do business in New York.

The lawsuit, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, claims that Trump’s net worth was inflated by billions of dollars on financial statements that helped him secure business loans and insurance.

The former president and current Republican 2024 front-runner denies any wrongdoing, and he has lambasted the case as a “hoax” and a political attack on him. James and the judge are Democrats.

It’s extremely uncommon for people who have lawyers to give their own closing arguments. But Trump’s lawyers had signaled privately to the judge last week that the ex-president planned to deliver a summation personally, in addition to arguments from his legal team.

In an email exchange that happened over recent days and was filed in court Wednesday, Engoron initially approved the request, saying he was “inclined to let everyone have his or her say.”

But he said Trump would have to limit his remarks to the boundaries that cover attorneys’ closing arguments: “commentary on the relevant, material facts that are in evidence, and application of the relevant law to those facts.”

He would not be allowed to introduce new evidence, “comment on irrelevant matters” or “deliver a campaign speech”—or impugn the judge, his staff, the attorney general, her lawyers or the court system, the judge wrote.

Trump attorney Christopher Kise responded that those limitations were “fraught with ambiguities, creating the substantial likelihood for misinterpretation or an unintended violation.”

Engoron said that they were ”reasonable, normal limits” and would allow for comments on the attorney general’s arguments but not personal attacks.

Kise termed the restrictions “very unfair.”

“You are not allowing President Trump, who has been wrongfully demeaned and belittled by an out of control, politically motivated attorney general, to speak about the things that must be spoken about,” the attorney wrote.

“I won’t debate this yet again. Take it or leave it,” the judge shot back, with an all-caps addition: “I will not grant any further extensions.”

After not hearing from Trump’s lawyers by a noon Wednesday deadline, Engoron wrote that he assumed Trump was not agreeing to the ground rules and therefore would not be speaking.

Earlier in the exchange, the judge also denied Kise’s request to postpone closing arguments until Jan. 29 because of the death Tuesday of Trump’s mother-in-law, Amalija Knavs.

The judge expressed condolences but said he was sticking to the scheduled date, citing the security and logistics required for Trump’s planned visit to court.

During the recent email exchange about Trump’s potential summation, Engoron warned Trump’s lawyers that if the former president violated the gag order, he’d be removed from the courtroom and fined at least $50,000.

Trump testified in the case in November, sparring verbally with the judge and state lawyers as he defended himself and his real estate empire. He considered a second round of testimony, during the portion of the trial when his own lawyers were calling witnesses. After teasing his return appearance, he changed course and said he had “nothing more to say.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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