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Judge Blocks Trump From Giving Closing Argument At Own Trial

The judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial rescinded permission Wednesday for Trump to deliver his own closing argument, according to The Associated Press

Judge Arthur Engoron previously granted approval after one of Trump’s lawyers informed him that the former president wanted to present his own closing arguments on Thursday, the AP reported Tuesday. Engoron changed his mind Wednesday after Trump’s lawyers objected to his requirement that Trump speak only on “relevant” matters, the AP reported.

New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote in her closing brief last week that evidence of Trump’s fraud was “inescapable.” She argued Trump and his company should be required to pay $370 million, $120 million higher than what she initially sought, according to Axios.

“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 wrote in a letter to Trump’s lawyers and James, according to CNN

Engoron ruled in September that Trump and his company committed fraud, deceiving banks and insurance companies by exaggerating his net worth and overvaluing assets.

“There have been no losses to any party, as the loans here were negotiated between very sophisticated parties,” Trump’s lawyers argued in a Friday filing that pointed to testimony from bank leaders involved in granting Trump loans. “Lenders made their own informed decisions.”

Documents presented during the trial showed that the bank Trump allegedly defrauded, Deutsche Bank, was eager to land him as a client.

Trump also attended oral arguments Tuesday in Washington, D.C., as a three-judge panel considered his bid to dismiss based on presidential immunity in the 2020 election interference case brought against him by special counsel Jack Smith.

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