The liberal judge overseeing Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York has banned the former president from delivering a closing argument.
Ahead of the arguments scheduled for Thursday, Judge Arthur Engoron told Trump’s legal team he would not be permitted to speak in court after they failed to agree to certain conditions.
In a testy email exchange posted to the case’s docket, Engoron and Trump’s attorneys had argued over what Trump would be allowed to say.
Engoron initially said that Trump could make a closing argument if he promised to “limit his subjects” to matters deemed relevant by the court.
“He may not seek to introduce new evidence,” Engoron wrote on Friday. “He may not ‘testify.’ He may not comment on irrelevant matters.”
“In particular, and without limitation, he may not deliver a campaign speech, and he may not impugn myself, my staff, plaintiff, plaintiff’s staff, or the New York State Court System, none of which is relevant to this case,” he continued.
Engoron added that if Trump failed to abide by these rules, he would “cut him off in mid-sentence and admonish him.”
Trump’s lawyer, Chris Kise, responded by arguing that Engoron’s proposed conditions were “fraught with ambiguities, creating the substantial likelihood for misinterpretation or unintended violation.”
“This is very unfair, your Honor,” Kise wrote on Wednesday.
“You are not allowing President Trump, who has been wrongfully demeaned and belittled by an out of control, politically motivated Attorney General, to speak about the things that must be spoken about,” he said.
“I won’t debate this yet again. Take it or leave it. Now or never,” Engoron replied. “You have until noon, seven minutes from now. I WILL NOT GRANT ANY FURTHER EXTENSIONS.”
Kise did not reply to that email.
“Not having heard from you by the third extended deadline (noon today), I assume that Mr. Trump will not agree to the reasonable, lawful limits I have imposed as a precondition to giving a closing statement above and beyond those given by his attorneys, and that, therefore, he will not be speaking in court tomorrow,” Engoron followed up.
The contentious back and forth is all part of the civil fraud case brought against Trump by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
According to the indictment, Trump inflated his net worth in order to secure favorable business loans.
Trump has denied all the charges against him and denounced the case as a “political witch hunt” aimed at derailing his presidential campaign.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.