Judge Rejects Trump’s Bid To Deliver Closing Remarks

Former President Donald Trump chalked up a courtroom setback this week when Judge Arthur Engoron rejected his bid to make his own closing argument in a New York civil trial.

Although the judge previously expressed a willingness to consider the request, he advised Trump that standard rules dictating the behavior of attorneys during closing arguments would apply to him, meaning he would be limited to discussing issues directly related to the claim that he inflated the value of his business.

Specifically, Engoron insisted that Trump would be barred from vilifying anyone related to the case and could not “deliver a campaign speech” in court.

In his order, the judge wrote that only “commentary on the relevant, material facts that are in evidence, and application of the relevant law to those facts” would be allowed as part of Trump’s summation.

Defense attorneys pushed back, however, asserting that the limitations would unduly restrict Trump’s ability to make his case.

Attorney Christopher Kise argued that Engoron’s restrictions were “very unfair” and “fraught with ambiguities,” making it too easy for Trump to unintentionally violate them.

“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,” he added.

Trump himself weighed in on the development, calling Engoron’s ruling “MEAN & NASTY” in a social media post this week.

Engoron previously limited Trump’s ability to speak about the case outside of the courtroom, handing down a limited gag order that prevented discussion about officers and staffers of the court. Trump was subsequently fined $15,000 for alleged violations of the order, but his attorneys moved to appeal the ruling.

As part of the discussion about Trump’s desire to deliver his own closing statement, Engoron warned that the former president could be assessed fines of $50,000 or more and be kicked out of court if he violated the gag order during his remarks.

In response to Kise’s objection to his limitations, Engoron dug in his heels, writing: “I won’t debate this again. Take it or leave it.”

Although the New York case does not involve criminal charges, Trump could lose his ability to conduct business in the state and receive penalties totaling in the nine-figure range if he loses.