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Trump’s civil fraud trial: Former president speaks in closing statements

Attorneys appeared in court Thursday to give closing arguments in former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York.

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Arguments started after a bomb threat prompted authorities to respond to the home of the judge presiding over the case, Judge Arthur Engoron, The New York Times reported. The incident did not appear to delay court proceedings.

Trump, his adult sons and the Trump Organization are accused of lying for years about the value of their properties to get more favorable terms from lenders and insurers. New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the lawsuit in 2022, said the elder Trump and his team inflated his net worth by as much as $2.2 billion a year.

Engoron expects to issue opinion by Jan. 31

Update 5 p.m. EST Jan. 11: State attorneys wrapped up their closing statements on Friday afternoon after an hourslong hearing on Thursday.

Engoron told attorneys that he aims to issue his opinion by Jan. 31, MSNBC reported. He added that he was “reasonably confident that I will be able to do so.”

AG’s office reiterates request for $370M penalty, NY real estate industry ban

Update 4:50 p.m. EST Jan. 11: State attorney Kevin Wallace picked up closing statements again to make the final arguments in the New York Attorney General’s case against Trump.

Wallace described the relief requested by the state, which includes a $370 million penalty and a lifetime ban from the New York real estate industry, The Messenger reported.

State attorney focuses on Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr.

Update 4:30 p.m. EST Jan. 11: A state attorney laid out the evidence to show that Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. acted with intent to defraud on Thursday as part of closing statements from the New York Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney Andrew Amer showed evidence that Eric Trump knew about the financial statements, which he and his brother have denied being involved in, according to the Times.

Engoron interrupted to note that a briefing from the Attorney General’s Office gave little evidence that the brothers knew there was fraud. Amer said that, as co-CEOs of the Trump Organization for several years, they would have had to have “put their heads in the sand” to not know, MSNBC reported.

‘The bucks stopped with him,’ attorney for AG’s office says of Trump

Update 4:15 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Andrew Amer, an attorney for the New York Attorney General’s Office, shifted his focus to Trump following a brief break in court on Thursday afternoon, according to the Times.

“The buck stopped with him,” he said.

He highlighted that Trump testified that he reviewed and approved of final drafts of the statements of financial conditions, MSNBC reported.

Closing statements resume

Update 4 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Attorneys for the New York Attorney General’s Office are back in court to resume closing statements, NBC News reported.

Court takes brief afternoon recess

Update 3:45 p.m. EST Jan. 11: The court took a brief pause in closing statements on Thursday afternoon, according to the Times.

AG’s office focuses on ex-Trump Organization executive

Update 3:40 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Andrew Amer, an attorney for the New York Attorney General’s Office, began his closing statement focused on testimony from former Trump Organization executive Jeff McConney, The Messenger reported.

‘Most critical acts are undisputed,’ attorney for New York AG says

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Jan. 11: An attorney for the New York Attorney General’s Office told Engoron in closing statements that defense attorneys rehashed arguments that had already been rejected by courts.

“We’ve heard them all before,” attorney Kevin Wallace said, according to The Washington Post. “The most critical acts are undisputed.”

Wallace has turned arguments over to his colleague, Andrew Amer, who is tasked with explaining the relevant law and standard of proof, the Times reported.

White House condemns threats against judges after bomb scare

Update 3 p.m. EST Jan. 11: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday that officials condemn a recent surge in threats made against judges across the country after a bomb scare prompted police to respond to Engoron’s house on Thursday morning.

“We condemn any forms of threats or violence against any judges, against any groups, against anyone,” she said at a White House news conference. “We are going to continue to be steadfast about that.”

‘This is the new form of cheating,’ Trump says

Update 2:50 p.m. EST Jan. 11: As the New York Attorney General’s Office continues to make its closing statement before Engoron, Trump held a news conference at one of his properties where he repeatedly claimed that the case was politically motivated amid the race for the White House.

He claimed several times that the case was orchestrated by President Joe Biden, allegations that have not been substantiated.

“This is the new form of cheating,” Trump said.

The former president also commented on his arguments against criminal prosecution in Georgia and Washington, D.C., where he faces charges related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has claimed that he is immune from prosecution due to presidential immunity. A Washington court rejected the arguments, though Trump has appealed the decision.

“If a president of the United States does not have immunity, he’ll be totally ineffective because he won’t be able to do anything,” he said on Thursday. “It will mean he’ll be prosecuted — strongly prosecuted, perhaps — as soon as he leaves office by the opposing party.”

AG’s office: Trump’s financial statements were false from 2011 to 2021

Update 2:40 p.m. EST Jan. 11: An attorney for the New York Attorney General’s Office began making closing statements on Thursday, saying that the former president’s financial statements were inflated by as much as $2.2 billion every year for a decade beginning in 2011, the Times reported.

Kevin Wallace of the Attorney General’s Office said that the defendants manipulated the statements as part of a conspiracy and that it was ultimately up to them and not their former accounting firm to make sure the information was accurate, according to the newspaper.

Closing arguments set to resume after lunch break

Update 2:20 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Attorneys gathered again in a New York courtroom Thursday for the continuation of closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial.

Two defense attorneys, Chris Kise and Cliff Robert, were in the courtroom following a lunch break Thursday, though Trump was not with them, the Times reported. The former president left earlier after giving remarks ahead of closing statements from James’ team.

Trump has signaled that he plans to hold a news conference at one of his properties at 2:30 p.m. amid closing arguments from the attorney general’s office, according to NBC News.

Court breaks for lunch

Update 1:30 p.m. EST Jan. 11: The court has paused proceedings for lunch, with arguments to resume at 2:15 p.m., the Times reported.

It was not immediately clear whether Trump would be back in court to watch the closing statement from James’ team.

‘This is a fraud on me,’ Trump tells judge

Update 1:05 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Engoron allowed Trump to speak in court on Thursday, according to reports from the courtroom.

“This is a fraud on me,” he said, according to The Messenger. “What’s happened here, sir, is a fraud on me.”

He also reiterated statements made outside the courtroom in which he said that the financial statements are “perfect” and “the banks got all their money paid back,” CNN reported.

He attacked James and Engoron and called the case “a political witch hunt” before leaving the courtroom, MSNBC reported.

Trump attorney Chris Kise had earlier asked Engoron to allow his client to deliver part of the defense team’s closing arguments on Thursday, a request the judge declined after Trump said he would not abide to a number of stipulations aimed at keeping his comments focused on the case.

Defense attorney Robert defends Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr.

Update 1 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Defense attorney Cliff Robert made a brief closing statement on Thursday, saying that Trump’s adult sons had nothing to do with the company’s annual financial statements, the Times reported.

“There is not one witness that says that Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr. had anything more than peripheral involvement” in the company’s annual financial statements, he said, according to the newspaper.

Habba finishes closing statement, defense attorney Cliff Robert up next

Update 12:55 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Habba has wrapped up her closing statement, arguing that the fraud claims make no sense and that the issues were the result of human error, according to CNN and the Times.

“If they wanted to commit fraud,why would they select Deutsche Bank, Zurich Insurance, some of the most sophisticated, highly regulated companies in the world?” she asked, according to CNN. “It makes no sense.”

She said that if human error could be considered fraud, “the entire State of New York is screwed,” the Times reported.

Trump returns to courtroom, closing statements continue

Update 12:25 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump and his team have returned to the courtroom Thursday after a brief break following his attorney’s closing statements.

Defense attorney Alina Habba has begun to deliver her remarks, telling Engoron that Trump has been “dragged through a political agenda,” the Times reported. The comment prompted the judge to interrupt and remind her prompting the judge to interrupt and remind her “that she must stick to the facts and the law,” according to the newspaper.

Another defense attorney, Cliff Robert, is also expected to speak Thursday, NBC News reported.

‘This is a case that should never have been brought,’ Trump says after closing statements

Update 12:15 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump spoke with reporters as he left the courtroom Thursday for a brief break in the day’s proceedings and summed up closing statements given earlier by his attorney, Chris Kise.

“The lawyer said it was absolutely nothing done wrong, these were all great loans,” the former president said. “The bank got the loans, they got paid. The banks were in perfect condition. The bankers were extremely happy with these loans, they made a lot of money with the loans.”

He reiterated claims that the case was politically motivated and said that James “should be criminally liable for this.”

“This is an out of control attorney general,” he said. Later he added, “This is a case that should never have been brought and I think we should be entitled to damages.”

Trump will be back in the courtroom shortly for a continuation of closing statements.

Trump attorney wraps up closing arguments

Update 12:05 p.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump attorney Chris Kise wrapped up his closing statements Thursday, telling Engoron, This decision is not just about President Trump,” the Times reported.

“What you do, judge, impacts every corporation in New York,” Kise said.

During closing, Kise argued that the financial statements in dispute had no impact on the real world and that the loan transactions were ultimately all profitable, according to the Times. He said no one complained of fraud and that no one was victimized.

Court is in a brief break before closing statements continue.

Trump attorney accuses NY AG of putting client ‘essentially out of business’

Update 11:15 a.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump’s attorney, Chris Kise, echoed the former president’s claims that the case against him is politically motivated in closing arguments on Thursday.

He called the former president “a person who has been the heart of the fabric of the commercial real estate industry” in New York for decades, The Washington Post reported.

“The attorney general has put [Trump] ... essentially out of business for what? Nothing,” Kise said. “Not one witness came into this courtroom, your honor, and said there was fraud.”

Eric Trump in court for closing statements

Update 10:45 a.m. EST Jan. 11: Eric Trump, who is among those named in the civil fraud suit brought by James, was in the courtroom Thursday for closing arguments, according to CNBC.

Eric Trump sat next to Boris Epshteyn, a lawyer for his father.

Trump’s attorneys start delivering closing arguments

Update 10:25 a.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump’s attorney, Chris Kise, has begun delivering closing arguments on behalf of his client, CNN reported.

Kise said no witnesses testified that there was fraud or that material misstatements were made, the news network reported.

The attorney general is seeking to strip them — according to the papers — of everything,” he said.

Attorneys for Trump have until 12:45 p.m. EST to make their closing remarks, CNN reported.

James asking Trump face $370M penalty

Update 10:20 a.m. EST Jan. 11: James’ team is asking that Trump be fined $370 million and barred from acquiring commercial real estate or applying for loans in New York for five years.

“Trump used his falsely inflated net worth to obtain a host of benefits. More favorable loans and insurance coverage that saved him hundreds of millions of dollars,” the attorney general, who is not expected to speak in court Thursday, said in a social media post.

“Obtaining these loans at discounted rates was absolutely critical to the Trump Organization staying afloat.”

Trump in courtroom for start of closing arguments

Update 10:10 a.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump was inside the courtroom Thursday for the start of closing arguments in his civil fraud trial in New York.

Cameras were briefly allowed in the room ahead of closing remarks.

Trump says he still hopes to speak in court Thursday

Update 10 a.m. EST Jan. 11: Trump reiterated his claims that the case in New York amounted to “election interference” as part of a “terrible witch hunt” against him in a statement delivered to reporters outside the courtroom on Thursday.

The former president said he still hopes to deliver closing remarks after Engoron declined to allow him to speak without limits on what he could talk about.

The judge said Trump would not be allowed to introduce new evidence, testify, comment on “irrelevant matters,” “deliver a campaign speech” or attack him, his staff or the New York State Court System in closing remarks.

“As you know, I want to speak, I want to make a summation,” Trump said Thursday. “At this moment, the judge is not letting me make the summation because I bring up things that he doesn’t want to hear and it’s a very unfair trial.”

He said the case is “interference. It’s political interference, and it’s something that shouldn’t be allowed.”

Trump’s attorneys to deliver closing arguments first

Update 9:55 a.m. EST Jan. 11: Attorneys for Trump told Engoron that they expect their closing arguments to take about two hours on Thursday before James’ team delivers their remarks.

In court records, attorneys indicated that they will argue that most of the transaction detailed in the complaint from James’ office are time-barred and that James’ team failed to show the fraud had any “Real-World Impact,” among other things. Attorneys for the former president’s sons emphasized in a filing that Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump relied on the work of others and did not prepare financial statements himself.

Original report: Trump has denied wrongdoing, calling the trial “RIGGED AND UNFAIR” in a social media post on Wednesday.

Last week, an attorney for the former president asked Engoron to allow Trump to deliver a portion of their closing arguments. The judge said he was “inclined to let everyone have his or her say” with the stipulation that Trump agreed to talk only about “the relevant, material facts that are in evidence, and the application of the relevant law to those facts.” Engoron said Trump would not be allowed to introduce new evidence, testify, comment on “irrelevant matters,” “deliver a campaign speech” or attack him, his staff or the New York State Court System.

The judge declined to let Trump speak after his attorney said he would not comply with the provisions. Attorney Chris Kise said the restrictions, which Engoron characterized as “reasonable, normal limits,” were “fraught with ambiguities, creating the substantial likelihood for misinterpretation or unintended violation.”

Trump’s team expects to spend about two hours delivering closing arguments, after which James’ team will deliver their remarks.

“For years, Donald Trump engaged in significant financial fraud to enrich himself and his family,” James said Thursday in a statement ahead of closing arguments. “No matter how rich or powerful you pretend to be, no one is above the law.”

In September, Engoron ruled that fraud had been committed and that the former president, his sons and other executives are liable, NPR reported.

The trial could cost Trump hundreds of millions of dollars and bar him from doing business in New York.


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