During closing arguments in Donald Trump’s civil fraud case in New York on Thursday, January 11, the former president disregarded Judge Arthur Engoron’s warnings about personal attacks when he gave his statement before the court, raging against the judge and New York Attorney General Letitia James for several minutes before Engoron shut him down, CBS News reported.
The judge had rejected a similar request from Trump’s attorney Christopher Kise the day before to permit the former president to deliver a closing statement when Trump’s legal team refused to agree to Engoron’s instructions for Trump to refrain from personal attacks.
After the defense made its closing arguments on January 11, Kise again raised the issue of allowing Trump to speak. The judge told Trump that he could speak for five minutes but only if he agreed to “focus on the facts.”
Without agreeing to the judge’s restrictions, Trump launched into a tirade, calling himself “an innocent man” and demanding that he should be paid “for what I’ve gone through.” Trump insisted that the only fraud was on him.
Ignoring Engoron’s warnings to stick to the facts, Trump insulted the judge, accusing him of “having your own agenda.” He claimed Attorney General Letitia James hated him and didn’t want him to get elected president, prompting the judge to warn Christopher Kise to “please control your client.”
Engoron then noted that Trump claimed that he “never had a problem,” and asked Trump, “Haven’t you been sued before?”
Trump reiterated that he did nothing wrong.
In a summary judgment, Judge Engoron already found that the defendants committed fraud before the trial began on October 2, but much of that ruling was on hold during the trial, which focused on accusations of falsifying business records, insurance fraud, and conspiracy.
The former president and his co-defendants all denied the allegations, with Trump claiming that the Attorney General’s civil case was part of the Democrat Party’s political persecution against him.