Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump found a way around Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling that he couldn’t speak during closing arguments and railed against his fraud trial anyway.
The dramatic moment prompted Engoron to tell Trump’s lawyer to “control your client.”
The judge had ruled Wednesday that the former President would not be allowed to speak during closing arguments over concerns he would not stick to “relevant” matters and avoid delivering “a campaign speech.”
Trump took to his Truth Social media platform to call Engoron’s decision “MEAN & NASTY” and reiterated that he would like to “personally do the closing argument.”
His lawyer made a last-minute effort to allow his client to speak. When the judge again reiterated the rules and inquired as to whether Trump would abide, the tirade began.
Trump says almost every legal expert agrees that his NY fraud trial should be dismissed, but Letitia James is “a racist scoundrel with total power & control over the judge.” He warns Judge Engoron that “the whole country is watching” so he better “do the right thing.” pic.twitter.com/ACpup0AbUW
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) January 9, 2024
Trump Rails Against Judge, Trial, Attorney General
Despite being warned by Judge Engoron to stick to the evidence and the law, Trump went off-script and seized an opportunity to express his frustration with the case.
Trump, directing his comments toward the judge, railed against the fraud trial and said the actual fraud had been perpetrated upon him.
“When you say don’t go outside of these things, we have a situation where I’m an innocent man, I’m being persecuted by someone running for office, and I think you have to go outside of the bounds,” Trump said.
“This is a fraud on me,” he added. “What’s happened here, sir, is a fraud on me.”
Trump also blasted Attorney General Letitia James for putting him through the fraud trial in the first place.
He defended his business practices, saying that he did “nothing wrong” and that the attorney general’s office “should pay me for what we had to go through.”
Trump has previously accused James of using the case to further her political ambitions.
“I think she used this case to try and become governor, and she used it successfully to become attorney general. I think it’s a disgrace that this case is going on,” he said at an earlier court date.
James had campaigned for Attorney General by saying that she would “never be afraid to challenge this illegitimate president.”
‘Control Your Client’
Trump’s explosive takeover of the trial on Thursday prompted Judge Engoron to advise his lawyers to muzzle him.
After Trump had accused Engoron of having an “agenda” and ripped him for interrupting his speech – “You can’t listen for one minute” – the judge tried to restore order.
“Mr. Kise, please control your client,” he said.
Trump’s outburst is the latest development in a trial that has been closely watched by the public. The case, brought by James, alleges that Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, committed fraud by inflating the value of their assets to secure loans and tax benefits.
James is seeking for Trump to forfeit $370 million and to permanently bar him from the New York real estate industry.
Engoron said he will try to have a final decision by January 31st, though he cautioned there is “no guarantee” on that timeline.
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