Trump challenges the judge and makes a speech in court on the tense final day of the civil fraud trial in New York

(David Dee Delgado/Associated Press)

Trump challenges the judge and makes a speech in court on the tense final day of the civil fraud trial in New York


January 11, 2024

Banned from making a formal closing argument, Donald Trump took the opportunity Thursday to speak in court at the end of his civil fraud trial in New York, unleashing a barrage of attacks in a six-minute tirade before was cut off by the judge.

Trump spoke as the judge tried to figure out whether the former president would follow rules requiring him to keep his comments focused on matters related to the trial. When asked whether he would adhere to the guidelines, Trump defied the judge and simply began his speech.

We have a situation where I am an innocent man, Trump protested. I am being persecuted by someone who is running for office and I think you should go beyond the limits.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who had earlier denied Trump’s extraordinary request to deliver his own closing statement, allowed him to continue virtually uninterrupted for what amounted to a brief personal brief, then interrupted him for a scheduled lunch break.

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Trump’s comments set off a tumultuous final day before a trial over allegations that he habitually exaggerated his wealth based on financial statements he provided to banks, insurance companies and others.

Adding to the day’s tension, the exchange took place hours after authorities responded to a bomb threat at the judge’s mansion in suburban New York City. The scare did not delay the start of the legal proceedings.

Trump, the leading Republican presidential contender, has discredited Engoron throughout the process, accusing him in a social media post Wednesday night of working closely with New York’s attorney general to screw me.

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On Wednesday, Engoron had thwarted an unusual plan by Trump to deliver his own closing remarks in court, alongside his legal team’s summons. The sticking point was that Trump’s lawyers would not agree to the justices’ demand that he stick to relevant cases and not try to introduce new evidence or make a campaign speech.

After two of Trump’s lawyers delivered traditional closing arguments Thursday, one of them, Christopher Kise, asked the judge again if Trump could speak. Engoron asked Trump whether he would adhere to the guidelines.

Trump then began his remarks.

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This is cheating on my part. What happened here, sir, was a hoax on my part, Trump said. He later accused the judge of not listening to him. I know this is boring for you.

Keep your client under control, Engoron Kise warned.

Engoron then told Trump he had one minute left, allowed him to speak for a moment, and then adjourned.

In their closing remarks Thursday afternoon, lawyers representing New York state said Trump and his lawyers had relied on false statements and irrelevant expert testimony to make their case.

What we haven’t heard from defendants are new facts, State’s Attorney Kevin Wallace said in his summary, arguing that Trump’s financial statements were false and that each defendant knowingly acted to inflate the numbers.

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Trump repeated most of his courtroom speech at a news conference later Thursday, which served as counterprogramming to the state’s closing argument. Trump peppered his comments at a Lower Manhattan office building he owns saying he could lose control as a result of the barbed president lawsuit


Biden, rape accuser E. Jean Carroll and other opponents.

The day started with Long Island police checking out the threat at Engoron’s Long Island home. At 5:30 a.m., Nassau County police said they responded to a swatting incident at the home in Great Neck. There is nothing wrong at the location, according to a spokesperson.

Engoron arrived at the bench a few minutes late and made no mention of the incident.

The false report came days after a false 911 call reporting a shooting at the home of the judge in Trump’s criminal case in Washington, DC. The incidents are part of a recent wave of similar false reports at government officials’ homes.

New York Att


j. Gen.


Letitia James, a Democrat, sued Trump in 2022 under a state law that gives the attorney general broad powers to investigate allegations of persistent fraud in business transactions. She wants the judge to impose $370 million in fines.

Engoron decided some of the key issues before testimony began. In a preliminary ruling, he found that Trump had committed fraud for years by lying about his wealth on financial statements using tricks such as claiming his Trump Tower penthouse was nearly three times its actual size.

The lawsuit includes six unsettled claims, including charges of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying company records. Trump’s company and two of his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., are also suspects. Eric Trump was also in court for closing arguments.

During his closing arguments, Kise claimed that Trump had done nothing wrong and had not misled anyone about his wealth.

Forty-four days into the trial, not a single witness has come into this courtroom, Your Honor, who has said there was fraud, Kise said, arguing that his client should receive a medal for his business acumen instead of a punishment he as the considered the company’s death penalty.

This whole thing is a fabricated claim to pursue a political agenda, Kise said. It’s been press releases and presumptions, but no evidence.

Since the trial began in October, Trump has gone to court nine times on October 2 to observe the case, testify and complain to TV cameras.

He clashed with Engoron and state attorneys on the witness stand for three hours in November and remains under a limited gag order after making a disparaging and false social media post about the judge’s clerk.

Thursday’s arguments were part of a busy legal and political process for Trump.

On Tuesday, he was in court in Washington, D.C., to review arguments from the appeals court on whether he is immune from prosecution on allegations that he planned to overturn the 2020 election, one of the four criminal cases against him. Trump has pleaded not guilty. The presidential primary season begins on Monday with the Iowa caucus.

In addition to monetary damages, James wants Trump and his co-defendants no longer allowed to do business in New York.

State attorneys say that by making himself appear richer, Trump qualified for better loan terms from banks, saving at least $168 million.

Kise acknowledged that some companies may be listed higher by intangible amounts, but he added that there are plenty of assets that are significantly undervalued.

Engoron said he is deciding the case because neither side asked for a jury and state law does not allow juries for these types of trials. He said he hopes to make a decision by the end of the month.

Last month, in a ruling rejecting a defense bid for an early verdict, the judge signaled his inclination to find Trump and his co-defendants liable on at least some of the claims.

Valuations, as explained ad nauseum in this study, can be based on different criteria that are analyzed in different ways, Engoron wrote in the December 2011 magazine. 18 statement. But a lie is still a lie.


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