The judge presiding over the civil trial stemming from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit against former President Trump and his business empire has rescinded the court’s offer for the 2024 GOP frontrunner to deliver a closing argument in the case.
Judge Arthur Engoron on Wednesday rescinded permission for Trump to make a closing argument during proceedings on Thursday.
Engoron had initially approved the request for Trump to make his own closing statement, but said the former president would be required to limit his remarks to “commentary on the relevant, material facts that are in evidence, and application of the relevant law to those facts.”
Engoron said Trump would be prohibited from introducing new evidence or commenting on “irrelevant matters” and said he could not “deliver a campaign speech” or speak ill of court staff or the attorney general.
However, Trump attorney Chris Kise, in an email to Engoron, said Trump has “been wrongfully demeaned and belittled by an out of control, politically motivated Attorney General” and he should be allowed to “speak about the things that must be spoken about.”
Kise also requested to postpone closing arguments, citing the death of Trump’s mother-in-law, Amalija Knavs, whom Kise said Trump “was very close to.”
Former first lady Melania Trump made the announcement about her mother’s passing on X late Tuesday.
Engoron said he was “sorry to hear the sad news,” but denied the request.
Engoron went on to impose a deadline for Kise to agree, on behalf of Trump, to abide by his rules for the closing argument; a deadline Kise missed.
“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 I have imposed as a precondition to giving a closing statement above and beyond those given by his attorneys, and that, therefore, he will not be speaking in court tomorrow,” Engoron wrote in an email.
The trial, which Engoron is presiding over, stems from James’ lawsuit against Trump, his family and his businesses. James accused Trump of inflating his financial statements and deceiving banks.
James filed the lawsuit against Trump “under a consumer protection statute that denies the right to a jury,” a Trump spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
“There was never an option to choose a jury trial,” the spokesperson said. “It is unfortunate that a jury won’t be able to hear how absurd the merits of this case are and conclude no wrongdoing ever happened.”
Trump and his family have denied any wrongdoing. The former president has repeatedly said his assets were actually undervalued. Trump has repeatedly said his financial statements had disclaimers, requesting that the numbers be evaluated by the banks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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