Former President Donald Trump is set to deliver his own closing argument on Thursday, adding to his legal team’s summations in his New York civil business fraud trial. This unexpected move, approved by Judge Arthur Engoron, signifies Trump’s desire to address the court directly. New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the case, accusing Trump of inflating his net worth on financial statements to obtain business loans and insurance.
While defendants rarely personally give closing arguments when they have legal representation, Trump has chosen to do so, despite having a team of attorneys. Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing and expressed his disapproval of the trial through vigorous testimony and on social media platforms like Truth Social. On this new social media platform, he dismissed the case as a “hoax” and criticized both the judge and the attorney general, who are Democrats.
During closing arguments, both sides present their interpretations of the evidence and explain why they should win the case. With this opportunity, Trump aims to persuade Judge Engoron, the ultimate decision-maker.
It’s worth noting that Trump has altered his plans regarding the trial in the past. Previously, he was expected to testify as a witness but canceled at the last minute, citing having “nothing more to say.”
The Allegations against Trump: A Deceptive Game of Numbers
In a recent court filing, James’ office claims that Donald Trump, his business, and certain top executives orchestrated a scheme to deceive banks and insurers by inflating the values of various assets, including his luxurious triplex at Trump Tower in New York and his prestigious Mar-a-Lago club and residence in Florida. By presenting inflated numbers, Trump allegedly obtained more favorable rates, while lenders and insurers were left in the dark, unable to accurately assess the true risks involved.
Unveiling the Fraudulent Conduct
According to state lawyers, these “defendants reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains through their unlawful conduct.” Seeking justice, the state is now pursuing $370 million in penalties, along with interest, and a demand to bar Trump from conducting any business in New York.
The Defense’s Counterargument
Trump’s legal team vehemently denies the allegations. They contend that the deals Trump secured were entirely legitimate and that he fulfilled his obligations by repaying all loans. Furthermore, they assert that Trump’s financial statements were explicitly provided as unaudited estimates, urging recipients to conduct their own due diligence. According to the defense, any discrepancies in net worth figures were inconsequential and had no material impact on the final outcome. They argue that as sophisticated parties, lenders made informed decisions without suffering any losses.
The Legal Battle and the Judge’s Stand
Judge Engoron will oversee the case and evaluate the claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records. With a verdict expected by the end of this month, he has already ruled that Trump and other defendants engaged in fraudulent activities over an extended period. As a result, the judge previously ordered the appointment of a receiver to take control of some of Trump’s properties. However, an appeals court has currently halted the implementation of this order.