Donald Trump plans to attend closing arguments for his New York civil fraud trial Thursday, where the former president’s business empire in the state is at stake.
Trump is not expected to speak in court, however, after Judge Arthur Engoron rejected a request because Trump would not agree to restrictions on what he could discuss.
The last-minute drama over Trump’s role at the final day of the civil fraud trial encapsulates what has been a bitter, argument-filled, three-month-long circus pitting Trump and his attorneys against both the New York attorney general’s office and the judge overseeing the case.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $370 million in damages and to bar Trump from doing business in the state, alleging that Trump, his adult sons and his company defrauded banks and insurance companies by inflating the value of Trump’s assets.
Engoron already ruled that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for persistent and repeated fraud before the trial began. The 11-week trial late last year was held to determine the scope of damages and six additional claims from the attorney general, including conspiracy, issuing false financial statements, falsifying business records, and insurance fraud.
Trump has railed against the trial, accusing the attorney general and the judge of participating in a political attack against him. He attended the trial over multiple days and testified at the trial, turning the witnesses stand and his statements outside of the courtroom into extensions of his campaign rallies.
“THIS IS A RIGGED AND UNFAIR TRIAL — NO JURY, NO VICTIMS, A GREAT FINANCIAL STATEMENT” Trump said on his Truth Social account Wednesday.
Engoron will not issue a decision on Thursday. He said he will issue a written order by the end of the month at the earliest. Trump’s attorneys have already appealed Engoron’s initial ruling against Trump and repeatedly made clear during the case that they plan to appeal his subsequent decision, too.