Judge cuts off Trump in court at conclusion of civil fraud trial

Trump said that the loans were all paid back and the banks were not harmed but left "in perfect condition."

Published: January 11, 2024 12:23pm

Updated: January 11, 2024 1:24pm

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday was briefly allowed to speak during closing arguments of his civil fraud trial before being cut short by the judge, but he expressed optimism earlier in the day.

"We have a situation where I am an innocent man," Trump said, according to The Associated Press. "I’m being persecuted by someone running for office and I think you have to go outside the bounds."

His comments in court echoed those made publicly throughout the trial, per CNN, but New York Judge Arthur Engoron ultimately cut him off. The judge had rescinded his permission to let Trump give his own closing arguments, but decided in court that the former president could make a brief closing statement.  

When he temporarily exited the courtroom earlier in the day, Trump told reporters: "We just had a very good session. The lawyer said that there was absolutely nothing done wrong."

The trial was on damages after Engoron determined last fall that Trump could be held responsible for inflating his net worth for years in an effort to secure better loans and insurance deals, but the former president disputed the financial allegations during the brief press conference Thursday.

Trump said that the loans were all paid back and the banks were not harmed but left "in perfect condition."

"These were all great loans," the former president said. "The bankers were extremely happy with these loans. They made a lot of money with the loans. There were no defaults. There were no problems. This is just an attorney general that hates Donald Trump."

New York Democratic Attorney General Letitia James is asking the court to bring a fine of more than $370 million against Trump and to ban him and his two eldest sons from working as officials of any company in the state. 

"She should be criminally liable for this," Trump said Thursday about James. "This is an out-of-control attorney general."

He added: "If anybody's fair about it, you'll see this is a case that should have never been brought and I think we should be entitled to damages."

Engoron, who was targeted with a bomb threat earlier in the day, has said he plans on issuing a decision in the case by the end of this month.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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