NY Judge Denies Trump’s Right To Give Closing Statement

On Wednesday, New York Judge Arthur Engoron disallowed President Donald Trump from delivering his own closing argument in his New York City civil fraud trial. This decision marks a significant turn in a case that has captured national attention with a series of questionable decisions against President Trump that appear to cut against basic due process and fairness.

The case initiated by leftist New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses Trump of inflating his net worth by billions to secure favorable loan and insurance terms. The former president and his legal team have consistently labeled the lawsuit as a politically motivated attack. Trump intended to address the court personally during the closing arguments, a request initially approved by Judge Engoron.

However, the judge said President Trump’s remarks had to be restricted to “relevant, material facts.” Trump attorney Christopher Kise advised the court that the 45th president would not accept the preconditions restricting his constitutional right to free speech. Kise also cited concerns over potential misinterpretation of Trump’s comments and the risk of unintended violations of the judge’s vague terms.

Engoron’s final decision to disallow President Trump’s ability to speak in his defense came after a series of heated exchanges between the court and Trump’s legal team. Kise, in an email to the judge, expressed dissatisfaction over the preconditions, calling the decision “very unfair” and alleging that a politically motivated Attorney General was wrongfully demeaning Trump.

The testimony portion of the trial began last October and ran through mid-December. That phase saw President Trump, his sons Eric and Don Jr., and his daughter Ivanka testify before the court.

Trump’s team has repeatedly insisted that the lawsuit is part of a more extensive witch hunt aimed at undermining President Trump’s 2024 campaign for another term in the White House. The trial included several dramatic moments, with Trump on one occasion referring to the judge and the attorney general as “Trump haters,” “frauds” and “political hacks.”

As the trial draws to an end, the decision to prevent President Trump from commenting on the evidence and the legal claims offered by James against him adds yet another layer of controversy to a case that began with a circus atmosphere. Many legal experts have interpreted this move as a suppression of Trump’s right to defend himself as he sees fit.