Updated Jan 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump cut off by judge after calling N.Y. trial "a fraud on me"

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he exits the courtroom for a break during his civil fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on January 11, 2024 in New York City

Former President Trump speaks as he exits the courtroom for a break during his civil fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on Jan. 11 in New York City. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Former President Trump attended the closing arguments on Thursday in his New York civil fraud trial where he and his lawyers derided the case as a "political agenda."

Why it matters: Any penalties given to Trump in the case are likely to come by the end of the month, and could include steep financial punishments or inhibit his ability to do business in New York.

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James argued earlier this month that Trump should pay $370 million for engaging in financial fraud over the course of a decade. The sum is significantly higher than the $250 million James originally requested when she filed the lawsuit in 2022.
  • There is no jury in the case, so New York Judge Arthur Engoron will determine what, if any, penalties Trump and the other co-defendants receive.

Driving the news: Trump delivered brief remarks from the courtroom on Thursday after the judge said he could speak for two to three minutes.

  • "We have a situation where I'm an innocent man," Trump said. "They should pay me for what I've gone through."
  • "What's happened here sir is a fraud on me," Trump said, per CNN.
  • "They want to make sure that I don't win again and this is partially election interference."

Zoom in: Engoron denied Trump's request to speak after the former president would not agree to certain conditions, such as not criticizing court staff or turning his remarks into a campaign speech.

  • Trump lawyer Christoper Kise asked the judge on Thursday if the former president could speak for two to three minutes. "No one is more affected" in the case than him, Kise said, NBC News reports.
  • Trump's request to speak during closing arguments came after he had declined to testify in December, saying at the time that he "has nothing more to say."

Trump, who has denied wrongdoing, has repeatedly clashed with James, Engoron and members of the court staff over the course of the trial.

  • Engoron imposed a gag order on Trump in the case, barring him from making disparaging remarks about the court staff.
  • The former president has been fined twice over violations of the order.

Go deeper: Trump's courtroom and campaign calendar collision is here

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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