Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Zach Jewell.
Former President Donald Trump ripped into the judge presiding over his civil business fraud trial during closing arguments on Thursday, even after the judge refused to allow the former president to give his own summation.
On Wednesday, Judge Arthur Engoron told one of Trump's lawyers that since he did not hear from Trump's team "by the third extended deadline (noon today), I assume that Mr. Trump will not agree to the reasonable, lawful limits that 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."
But during closing arguments, Trump spoke up anyway, launching into a six-minute-long speech where he slammed both Engoron and New York Attorney General Letitia James, according to the Associated Press. Trump reportedly blasted the judge after his lawyer, Christopher Kise, asked him once more if his client could speak. When Engoron asked Trump if we would abide by the specific guidelines proposed to him earlier, Trump began his speech.
"This is a fraud on me. What's happened here, sir, is a fraud on me,"
Trump said. He later accused the judge of not listening to him before Engoron told Trump's lawyers to "control your client."
He then gave the former president a minute to speak before adjourning for lunch.
"We have a situation where I am an innocent man,"
the former president added. "I'm being persecuted by someone running for office and I think you have to go outside the bounds."
Before going into the courtroom on Thursday, Trump stood alongside his lawyers outside and called the trial "election interference at the highest level,"
alleging that "it's in coordination with the White House and Joe Biden."
"It is indeed a terrible witchhunt,"
Trump said, adding. "As you know, I want to speak, I want to give a summation. At this moment, the judge is not letting me make the summation because I'll bring up things that he doesn't want to hear. It's a very unfair trial. Nobody has ever seen anything like this."
Trump's civil business fraud trial began after James, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against the former president and three of his children in September 2022. The suit alleges that Trump, along with Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump, misled the value of his company's assets in financial statements "over 200 times in 10 years."
Initially, James sought $250 million in fines for Trump, but according to a brief filed last week, James is now asking the judge to fine Trump more than $370 million.