Donald Trump keeps his head down as he makes his way to court for closing arguments in his fraud trial after judge barred him from speaking in his own defense
Closing arguments are set to begin today in Donald Trump’s fraud trial at New York Supreme Court. A somber looking Trump was seen leaving Trump Tower Thursday morning. He kept his head down and didn’t stop to wave as he normally would.
The case represents a dire threat to Trump’s real estate business and could see him forced to sell off some of his most prized properties, including Trump Tower.
Trump had wanted to make the closing arguments himself but on Wednesday Judge
Arthur Engoron banned him from doing so after lawyers were unable to agree that he would stay on topic.
Before the trial had even begun on October 2, Judge Engoron ruled that Trump committed fraud by overvaluing his net worth by up to $2.2 billion to get better rates on bank loans.
The trial has been to determine what the penalty should be and the New York State Attorney General is seeking a $370 million fine in the civil case.
Judge Engoron has barred Trump and his family from serving as directors in the state and ordered some of his most famous buildings to be sold off.
But the ruling has been put on hold until he makes his final ruling on the penalty, and that is expected in a few weeks’ time.
The trial has heard from dozens of witnesses including Trump himself, his sons Don Jr and Eric and his daughter Ivanka, who fought a subpoena forcing her to testify.
Among the properties which allegedly had their value inflated was Trump’s Triplex apartment atop Trump Tower in Manhattan.
That went from $200 million to $327 million, Wallace said. For years Trump claimed it was 30,000 sq ft but in fact it was just 10,000, a change which tripled its value, the court heard.
The point of the fraud was to obtain better interest rates that saved Trump ‘tens of millions of dollars’ every year, Wallace said.
During the trial Judge Engoron has imposed a gagging order on Trump to stop talking about his court clerk after the former President baselessly suggested she had a baby with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat.
But the judge did not bar Trump from making comments just outside the courtroom which he did multiple times a day on the days he has attended.
Trump’s appearances turned the case into a spectacle with streets outside locked down and those in court having to go through two sets of security to get into the courtroom.
Despite all the theatrics Judge Engoron has stated that the case is about the documents, and they do not favor Trump.
In a ruling this week he rejected Trump’s latest request for a directed verdict, or to have the case dismissed, calling Trump’s claims ‘misstatements at best and fraud at worst’.
Engoron wrote: ‘Valuations, as elucidated ad nauseum in this trial, can be based on different criteria analyzed in different ways. But a lie is still a lie’.