Donald Trump won’t make his own closing argument in his New York civil business fraud trial after his lawyers objected to the judge’s insistence that the former president would stick to “relevant” matters.
Judge Arthur Engoron rescinded permission for the unusual plan on Wednesday, a day ahead of closing arguments in the trial. Trump attorney Alina Habba responded: “Is anyone surprised anymore?”
The trial could cost Trump hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties and strip him of his ability to do business in New York. The lawsuit, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, claims that Trump’s net worth was inflated by billions of dollars on financial statements that helped him secure business loans and insurance.
The former president and current Republican 2024 front-runner denies any wrongdoing, and he has lambasted the case as a “hoax” and a political attack on him. James and the judge are Democrats.
It’s extremely uncommon for people who have lawyers to give their own closing arguments. But Trump’s lawyers had signaled privately to the judge last week that the ex-president planned to deliver a summation personally, in addition to arguments from his legal team.