Former President Donald Trump is facing yet another legal battle, this time in his home state of New York. The New York attorney general, Letitia James, is seeking a fine of up to $370 million in a civil fraud case against the ex-president. The case, which centers around allegations of inflating property values to obtain more favorable loans, has been ongoing for months and is now heading into its final stages.
According to sources, Trump has asked to make his own closing argument during the trial. This is a rare move, as defendants typically do not personally give summations if they have attorneys. Despite having several lawyers representing him, Trump is insistent on delivering his own closing remarks. The judge, Arthur Engoron, has approved this plan, and it is expected to take place on Thursday.
BREAKING- Judge Arthur Engoron will NOT allow Trump to deliver his own closing arguments. The judge told Trump’s attorneys that Trump must submit to certain restrictions if he wished to address the court, but Trump’s team did not agree to those terms.
Your thoughts? pic.twitter.com/mT3IY4KkQx
— Lovable Liberal and his Old English sheepdog (@DougWahl1) January 10, 2024
Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the case and has called it a “hoax” on his Truth Social platform. He has criticized the attorney general and the judge, both of whom are Democrats, and has expressed his frustration with the trial on multiple occasions. The former president was originally scheduled to testify as a witness in December of last year but canceled at the last minute, stating that he had nothing more to say.
‘There have been no losses to any party, as the loans here were negotiated between very sophisticated parties,’ Trump lawyers Christopher Kise and Michael T. Madaio wrote Friday in court papers. ‘Lenders made their own informed decisions.’
The state’s case against Trump alleges that he, his business, and some top executives defrauded banks and insurers by inflating the values of his assets, including his famous Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. They claim that this allowed Trump to receive better loan terms while deceiving lenders and insurers. On the other hand, the defense maintains that Trump more than qualified for the deals he received and that any overstatements of his net worth were minor and did not affect the bottom line.
Judge Engoron will be weighing claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records during the trial. He has previously ruled that Trump and others involved in the case engaged in fraud for many years. He also ordered that a receiver take control of some of Trump’s properties, but this decision has been put on hold by an appeals court. The judge has indicated that he hopes to have a verdict by the end of the month.
🚨UPDATE: Trump’s lawyer, Chris Kise, requested that the closing arguments be postponed because of the passing of Melania Trump’s mother on Tuesday.
“I am sad to advise the Court that Mrs. Trump’s mother passed away this evening. Because of the challenges presented by this… pic.twitter.com/8YtUy9tF4I
— 🇺🇸 Larry 🇺🇸 (@LarryDJonesJr) January 10, 2024
As another legal battle involving the former president unfolds, many are watching to see how it will play out. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has shown his determination to defend himself in court. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for his financial future and his ability to do business in New York. As the trial comes to a close, all eyes will be on Judge Engoron’s final decision.