[guest post by Dana]
Judge Arthur Engoron said no to Trump today because the former president did not agree to the preset conditions in his civil fraud trial that would have allowed him to speak during the defense closing arguments. In fact, Judge Engoron had previously told Trump concerning the conditions: “Take it or leave it. Now or never.” So here we are at never:
In a letter to attorneys for Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James just after noon Wednesday, Engoron said that Trump hasn’t agreed to conditions he set should the former president wish to give a statement.
“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.
Engoron offered Trump the opportunity to speak in his own defense closing argument but said the former president must agree to preset conditions that would limit what he can and cannot say. He would not be allowed to campaign, the judge said.
“Thus, in my sole discretion, I will consent to let Mr. Trump make a closing argument if, and only if, through counsel by 1/9/2024, and by himself, personally, on the record, just before he speaks, he agrees to limit his subjects to what is permissible in a counsel’s closing argument, that is, commentary on the relevant, material facts that are in evidence, and application of the relevant law to those facts,” Engoron wrote in an email last week.
However, Trump didn’t agree to the conditions, and in fact, his lawyer responded to Judge Engoron’s preset conditions by saying that [Trump] “cannot agree (nor would i recommend he do so) to the proposed preconditions and prior restraints.” The conditions:
“He may not seek to introduce new evidence. He may not ‘testify.’ He may not comment on irrelevant matters,” Engoron wrote. “In particular, and without limitation, he may not deliver a campaign speech, and he may not impugn myself, my staff, plaintiff, plaintiff’s staff, or the New York State Court System, none of which is relevant to this case, and all of which, except commenting on my staff, can be done, and is being done, in other forums.”
It amuses me to know how infuriated Trump must be as a result of not being told he cannot make a closing statement. After all, we all know any platform given to the Eternal Victim, even a courtroom, is simply another opportunity for him to play the victim, cry “witch hunt,” make false accusations, and perhaps even make veiled threats before a captive audience.