Donald Trump won’t deliver his own closing statement at his New York civil fraud trial after all — after the judge said he needed to stick to “relevant, material facts.”
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron emailed Trump attorney Christopher Kise Wednesday saying he was assuming the 77year-old former president wouldn’t agree to the “lawful limits” and “therefore, he will not be speaking in court tomorrow.”
Kise first notified the judge in a January 4 email that after the lawyers give their arguments in the $370 million on Thursday, “President Trump plans to present argument at closing as well,” court records show.
Andrew Amer, a lawyer with the New York Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, opposed allowing Trump the chance to speak, warning that he “is prone to giving irrelevant speeches, lacks self-control, is evasive in responding to questions and has repeatedly violated court order for which he has been sanctioned.”
But Engoron said he would allow the unusual move — only if Trump agreed “to limit his subject to what is permissible in a counsel’s closing argument, that is, commentary on the relevant, material facts that are in evidence, and application of the relevant law to those facts.”
“I cannot agree *(nor would I recommend he do so) to the proposed precondition and prior restraints,” Kise responded in an email Tuesday.
The lawyer and the judge exchanged a few more emails Tuesday including about a request from Trump’s team to postpone closings after the death of his mother-in-law, Melania Trump’s mother Amalija Knavs, on Tuesday.
Engoron denied the request to postpone due to the disruption it would cause court staff.
But he still offered his condolences saying: “Please tell Mr. Trump I am sorry.”
Engoron also reiterated that Trump could not speak during closings unless he agreed to the judge’s terms, prompting Kise to respond: “this is very unfair your honor.”
The judge posted the extensive email chain in the case Wednesday as he noted that Trump wouldn’t be speaking in court during closing statements.
Trump’s attorneys are slated to deliver their remarks Thursday morning, with the AG’s side to follow in the afternoon. Each side’s statements are expected to last roughly two-and-a-half hours.
Engoron is deciding the non-jury case and has said he hopes to render a final decision by the end of the month.
The trial began in October, lasting through mid December, and saw Trump attend on multiple occasions.
Trump, his sons Eric and Don Jr. and daughter Ivanka all testified at trial.
The AG claimed in her case that for a decade Trump lied on yearly financial statements exaggerating his net worth by the billions to get better loan and insurance terms.
Trump and his team have repeatedly insisted that the 45th president has been the target of a political witch hunt by the AG’s office and the judge.
Trump lawyer Alina Habba issued a brief statement to Engoron’s decision Wednesday saying: “Is anyone surprised anymore?”
The AG’s office declined to comment Wednesday.