Donald Trump Cut Off By Judge After Blistering Courtroom Diatribe During Fraud Trial Conclusion | CBC News


Barred from giving a formal closing argument, former U.S. president Donald Trump seizes an opportunity to speak in court at the conclusion of his New York civil trial, unleashing a barrage of attacks during a six-minute diatribe before being cut off by the judge.

Former president denied opportunity to make own closing statements in courtroomThe Associated Press

· Posted: Jan 11, 2024 3:16 PM EST | Last Updated: January 12

Former U.S. president Donald Trump, right, speaks at New York State Supreme Court after his defence team finished presenting closing arguments in his fraud trial on Thursday. (Seth Wenig/The Associated Press)Barred from giving a formal closing argument, Donald Trump seized an opportunity to speak in court at the conclusion of his New York civil trial on Thursday, unleashing a barrage of attacks during a six-minute diatribe before being cut off by the judge.

“We have a situation where I am an innocent man,” the former U.S. president protested. “I’m being persecuted by someone running for office, and I think you have to go outside the bounds.”

After a few minutes, Justice Arthur Engoron — who had earlier denied Trump permission to give a closing statement at the trial — cut him off and recessed for lunch.

Trump, the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, has repeatedly disparaged Engoron, accusing him in a social media post on Wednesday night of working closely with the New York attorney general “to screw me.”

On Wednesday, Engoron rejected an unusual plan by Trump to deliver his own closing remarks in the courtroom, in addition to summations from his legal team, after lawyers for the former president would not agree to the judge’s demand that he stick to “relevant” matters.”

After two of Trump’s lawyers delivered traditional closing arguments on Thursday, one of them, Christopher Kise, asked the judge again whether Trump could speak.

Engoron asked Trump whether he would abide by the guidelines the judge had laid out earlier, which included not trying to introduce new evidence or making a campaign speech. Trump then launched into his remarks.

“This is a fraud on me. What’s happened here, sir, is a fraud on me,” Trump said.

He later accused the judge of not listening to him. “I know this is boring to you.”

Engoron warned Kise, “Control your client,” and told Trump he had a minute left, before adjourning for lunch.

WATCH | Former president Trump’s fiery fraud trial testimony:

Donald Trump gives 6-minute tirade at fraud trial conclusionInitially barred from giving a formal closing statement at his New York civil trial after not agreeing to rules set forth by the trial judge, Donald Trump spoke out in court, unleashing a barrage of attacks during a six-minute diatribe before being cut off by the judge.

Bomb threat at judge’s homeThe exchange took place hours after authorities responded to a bomb threat at the judge’s house. Police checked out the threat at Engoron’s Long Island home, which came a day after he denied the former president’s extraordinary request to deliver his own courtroom close, officials said.

At 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, hours before the trial’s final day was to begin, Nassau County police said they responded to a “swatting incident” at Engoron’s Great Neck home.

Nothing amiss was found at the location, officials said. The false report came days after a fake emergency call reporting a shooting at the home of the judge in Trump’s Washington, D.C., criminal case.

The incidents are among a recent spate of similar false reports at the homes of public officials.

Taking the bench a few minutes late, Engoron made no mention of the incident at his home. The proceedings were not delayed.

Thursday’s court action featured the start of closing arguments in the trial over allegations that Trump exaggerated his wealth on financial statements he provided to banks, insurance companies and others.

“Forty-four days of trial — not one witness came into this courtroom, Your Honour, and said there was fraud,” Kise said, contending his client “should get a medal” for his business acumen instead of punishment he deemed the “corporate death penalty.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, wants the judge to impose $370 million US in penalties.

Trump says he did nothing wrong. He contends that outside accountants who helped prepare the statements should have flagged any discrepancies and that the documents came with disclaimers that shield him from liability.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, left, arrives at New York State Supreme Court ahead of closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial on Thursday. (Peter K. Afriyie/The Associated Press)Fraud ‘central to operation’ of businessIn the afternoon, a lawyer for New York state said in his closing remarks that Trump and his “cash poor” company couldn’t have completed various development projects without loans and cash flow from interest savings enabled by spurious financial statements.

“Fraud was central to the operation of the Trump Organization’s business,” said the attorney, Kevin Wallace. He said that Trump and the other defendants intentionally put false information in the company’s financial statements.

Trump skipped the afternoon court session in favour of a news conference that served as counter-programming to the state’s closing argument.

He spoke at a lower Manhattan office building he owns and could lose control of as a result of the trial. His remarks included barbs about U.S. President Joe Biden and writer E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of rape; a jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming her.

James told reporters after exiting court, “This case has never been about politics or personal vendetta or about name calling. This case is about the facts and the law. And Mr. Donald Trump violated the law.” “I trust that justice will be done,” she said.

Former President Donald Trump holds up a copy of a story featuring New York Attorney General Letitia James while speaking during a news conference, Thursday, after is lawyers presented closing arguments in his civil business fraud trial earlier in the day. (Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press)Decision possible by end of monthEngoron, who is deciding the case because state law doesn’t allow for juries in this type of lawsuit, ended the court day by saying he hoped to have a final decision in the case by Jan. 31.

“Not a promise, not a guarantee, but I’m reasonably confident,” he said, adding, “You’ll be hearing from me,” as he left the bench.

The trial involves six undecided claims, including allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records.

Trump’s company and two of his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., are also defendants. Eric Trump was also in court for closing arguments.

Besides monetary damages, James wants Trump and his co-defendants barred from doing business in New York.

State lawyers say that by making himself seem richer, Trump qualified for better loan terms from banks, saving him at least $168 million US.

WATCH | Should Donald Trump have presidential immunity?:

CBC News Network’s Heather Hiscox speaks to former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin about Trump’s immunity defenceGet the latest on, the CBC News App, and CBC News Network for breaking news and analysis.

With files from CBC News

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