Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (2024)

Table of Contents
What we covered here Key takeaways from the final day of Trump's civil fraud trial — and what happens next in the case NY attorney general says Trump’s personal attacks don’t bother her and she's confident "justice will be done" Attorney general's office wraps up closing arguments Fact Check: Trump repeats false claims about his legal troubles after closing arguments in civil trial Judge says he's skeptical about Trump sons' knowledge of fraud "The buck stopped with him": Trump intended to defraud, attorney general's office argues Attorney general's office cites Michael Cohen testimony about Trump's meanings Attorney general lays out allegations of fraud for multiple Trump properties Trump says he will attend E. Jean Carroll defamation trial next week Attorney general's office: "We're back to hearing the same arguments from the defendants" Trump goes into campaign speech mode in court address, says judge has "own agenda" Trump again asks to speak in court Trump sons weren't involved, lawyer says Trump attorney Habba says New York attorney general tried to "intimidate" Trump Org. executives Second Trump attorney begins her arguments, says fraud claims don't make sense Trump attorney Chris Kise finishes his closing arguments after nearly 2 hours Judge and Trump lawyer spar over the significance of a $2 billion difference Threat at home of judge presiding over Trump civil fraud trial unfounded and deemed swatting, police say Current Trump attorney attacks credibility of one of Trump's former attorneys, Michael Cohen Judge interrupts Trump attorney to say the former president doesn't qualify as an "expert witness" Trump lawyer agues that there was no "motive to lie" about finances to Deutsche Bank Judge overseeing Trump civil trial does not address bomb threat made at his home this morning Trump's attorneys begin closing arguments Trump speaks outside courtroom and calls the case an "unconstitutional witch hunt" Trump civil trial closing arguments will get underway soon. Here's what to know before they start Here's what's at stake in the Trump civil fraud trial Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James arrive at courthouse Inside the drama over Trump's wish to deliver a closing statement Trump departs Trump Tower on his way to court for closing arguments in his civil fraud trial Judge and his clerk have received hundreds of "serious and credible" threats over course of trial Bomb threat reported at house of judge presiding over the Trump civil fraud trial as court expected to proceed The judge will decide on the fate of Trump's business after 11 weeks of testimony Key takeaways from Trump's previous testimony in the New York civil fraud trial

By Dan Berman, Kara Scannell, Lauren del Valle and Jeremy Herb, CNN

Updated 6:31 PM EST, Thu January 11, 2024

Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (5)

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Reporter describes 'contentious' exchange between Trump and judge

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What we covered here

  • Ruling now looms: The New York civil fraud trial against Donald Trump concluded Thursday after the attorney general’s office and the defense team for the former president wrapped up their closing arguments. The judge has already found Trump is liable for fraud in the case, and he plans to issue a decision later this month.
  • Trump speaks in court: Trump, who was in court today, spoke from the defense table for roughly five minutes, saying the “financial statements are perfect” and called the case a “witch hunt” before the judge cut him off. Trump’s attorneys have already signaled they plan to appeal the judge’s ruling.
  • What’s at stake: New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $370 million in damages and to barTrumpfrom doing business in the state, alleging thatthe former president, his adult sons and his company defrauded banks and insurance companies by inflating the value ofTrump’s assets.
  • Trump’s campaign and legal worlds collide: Trump’s presence at the closing arguments just days before the Iowa caucuses underscores how intertwined his legal and political worlds have become. While this is a civil case, he’s made the four criminal indictments against him a key part of his 2024 campaign.

Our live coverage has ended. Read more about today’s arguments in the posts below.

33 Posts

Key takeaways from the final day of Trump's civil fraud trial — and what happens next in the case

From CNN's Jeremy Herb,Lauren del ValleandKara Scannell

Donald Trump brought the campaign trail to the courthouse during closing arguments of his $370 million New York civil fraud trial on Thursday, delivering campaign speeches both inside and outside the courtroom to attack the case against him and the attorney general who brought it.

Trump’s decision to launch into a monologue at the conclusion of his lawyers’ closing arguments reflected the fact that the civil fraud trial is a serious threat to Trump’s business and brand – New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking to bar Trump from doing business in the state – as well as how Trump is eager to take advantage of the situation as he runs for president.

Judge Arthur Engoron has already found Trump is liable for fraud in the civil case, and he plans to issue a full decision by the end of the month.

Here are keytakeawaysfrom the final day of the trial:

Trump finds a way to be heard in court: The former president effectively delivered the same speech in multiple locations on Thursday: The cameras outside the courtroom, to Engoron inside court and at his 40 Wall Street property in the afternoon to reporters. Notably, the most important time he gave his speech was where there were no cameras: Inside the courtroom. “This was a political witch hunt,” Trump said while speaking to Engoron in an unscheduled moment in court. “What’s happened here, sir, is a fraud on me.” Just before breaking for lunch at about 12:55 p.m. ET, Trump attorney Chris Kise renewed his request to Engoron to give Trump “two-to-three minutes” to make his case directly to the judge. Engoron addressed Trump, asking if he would promise just to comment on the facts in the case. “I think this case goes outside just the facts,” Trump responded, taking the opening to launch into a five-minute speech from the defense table.Engoron sat back for several minutes, letting Trump go on, before interrupting him to tell him his time was running short.

Attorney general maintains that Trump “acted with intent” to defraud: The attorney general’s office argued in its closing presentation that Trump “acted with intent” to fraudulently inflate the value of his assets in his financial statements. “The buck stopped with him,” said Andrew Amer, a lawyer for the attorney general’s office, saying that Trump was responsible for the conduct Trump Org. executives Allen Weisselberg and Jeff McConney participated in to inflate his assets. “Mr. Trump was certainly in the loop to review and approve the statements,” Amer said. “The court should infer that he acted with intent to defraud based on his extensive knowledge about these assets.” The attorney general’s office is seeking $370 million in its claim against Trump, alleging that his fraudulent financial statements allowed him to obtain loans and insurance at more favorable rates.

Trump’s lawyers argue case is political attack: Trump’s attorneys echoed the same themes as their client during their closing arguments, accusing the New York attorney general of a political vendetta against Trump. “This entire case is a manufactured claim to serve a political agenda,” Kise said at the outset of his presentation. “It has always been press releases and posturing, but no proof at all.” Both Kise and Alina Habba – an attorney for Trump, the Trump Org., Weisselberg and McConney – went after James personally.

Next steps in the case: Engoron said he hopes to issue a ruling by the end of January. But that is hardly going to be the end of the matter. Trump’s attorneys have already appealed Engoron’s summary judgement issued at the start of the trial, when the judge ruled Trump and his co-defendants were liable for persistent and repeated fraud. They have also made clear repeatedly during the trial they are planning to appeal the ruling, raising objections both to the case against Trump as well as the conduct of the judge and his law clerk. That means the case could stretch on, with the fate of Trump’s ability to do business in New York hanging in the balance.

NY attorney general says Trump’s personal attacks don’t bother her and she's confident "justice will be done"

From CNN's Laura Dolan
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (6)

Attorney General Letitia James sits in the courtroom for the civil fraud trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump in New York State Supreme Court on January 11, 2024 in New York City.

New York Attorney General Letitia James told reporters that the personal attacks against her don’t bother her and she’s confident that “justice will be done” in the case against former President Donald Trump.

James has been the subject of multiple attacks from Trump and others since she filed the lawsuit against him, his adult sons, and his company.

“I want everyone to know that the personal attacks really don’t bother me,” James said outside the courthouse after the conclusion of the trial. “This case has never been about politics, or a personal vendetta or about name-calling. The case is about facts and the law, and Mr. Trump violated the law.”

She reminded reporters that Judge Arthur Engoron has already found that Trump violated the law for repeated fraud over a period of years.

She thanked her team, the judge, as well as the opposing counsel.

“At the end of the day the point is simple: No matter how powerful you are, no matter how rich you are, that no one is above the law. And that the law applies to all of us equally and fairly,” James added.

Attorney general's office wraps up closing arguments

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell

The New York attorney general’s office has finished its closing argument and the civil trial against former President Donald Trump has concluded.

With closing arguments complete, Judge Arthur Engoron will issue his ruling in the case, which he has said could come as soon as later this month.

Trump’s attorneys have already signaled they plan to appeal Engoron’s ruling. They previously appealed his summary judgment decision issued before the trial began that found Trump and his co-defendants were liable for persistent and repeated fraud.

Engoron’s decision is expected to include the amount of disgorgement, or “ill-gotten gains,” that the defendants would have to pay back, as well as the six additional claims brought by the attorney general in the case, including conspiracy, issuing false financial statements, falsifying business records, and insurance fraud.

In the attorney general’s conclusion, assistant Attorney General Kevin Wallace argued that Trump should be barred from doing business in the industry. Wallace ticked through the multiple sanctions the judge has levied on Trump for failing to comply with subpoenas and for violating a gag order.

The attorney general’s office is seeking a five-year ban for Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., arguing there is some “daylight” between their behavior and their father’s but that they still should be sanctioned for their role.

Fact Check: Trump repeats false claims about his legal troubles after closing arguments in civil trial

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

During conspiracy-laden remarks Thursday afternoon, former President Donald Trump accused New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office of misusing a New York fraud law to go after him and his companies.

“This is a statute, a consumer fraud statute, that has never been used for anything like this before, and it’s a shame,” Trump claimed.

Facts First:This is false. The law has been used before, even in a case against Trump University years ago.

CNN’s Daniel Dalepreviously fact checked this claim in December.

He wrote: “New York Executive Law 63(12), the 1956 statute that New York Attorney General LetitiaJames invoked in filing the lawsuit that led to the civil trial, has been used for decades by New York attorneys general against a wide range of entities, ranging from an e-cigarette company to school bus companies to oil and gas giant ExxonMobil… In fact, it had also been used against Trump University and the Trump Foundation.”

Read more fact checks of Trump’s remark.

Judge says he's skeptical about Trump sons' knowledge of fraud

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (7)

Judge Arthur Engoron attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York on Thursday.

Eric and Donald Trump Jr. have been running the company for seven years as co-CEOs, New York Attorney General office attorney Andrew Amer argued and can’t claim ignorance about their father’s financial statements.

But Judge Arthur Engoron expressed skepticism about whether the two had knowledge of fraud.

Once Trump took office and his sons took control of the Trump Organization, Amer said during his closing presentation, they also had authority to certify the financial statements for the organization’s annual loan guarantees and actively participated in Trump’s 2021 personal financial statement. Amer went through old emails shown at trial in which Eric Trump assisted the in-house accounting department with asset valuations for his father’s statements.

Amer alleged Eric Trump took steps in court to “conceal from this court that he was fully aware his father had a personal financial statement.”“They were fully aware of the deceptive schemes,” Amer said. “And approved of and perpetuated all of those schemes to perpetuate the fraud.”

Engoron then interjected to ask a pointed question about Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.: What evidence do you have — I just haven’t seen it — that they knew that there was fraud?”

Amer responded that the “stick your head in the sand” defense is not sufficient.

“If you have a responsibility, and you have the information that is within your access … and instead you claim that you stick your head in the sand and don’t do anything to fulfill that responsibility, the law says that’s not a defense,” Amer said. “And you can infer that’s an intent to defraud.”

Engoron, however, remained skeptical — particularly for Donald Trump Jr. — about his knowledge of fraud.

"The buck stopped with him": Trump intended to defraud, attorney general's office argues

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (8)

In this October 2023 photo, Andrew Amer, prosecutor for the New York State Attorney General, center, arrives at New York State Supreme Court in New York.

The attorney general’s office argued in its closing presentation that Donald Trump “acted with intent” to fraudulently inflate the value of his assets in his financial statements.

Amer said Trump was responsible for the conduct Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg and Jeff McConney participated in to inflate his assets.

Trump “clearly knew the statements were being used to get loans,” Amer said, so he had motive to inflate the assets and keep his net worth high.

“Mr. Trump was certainly in the loop to review and approve the statements,” Amer added. “The court should infer that he acted with intent to defraud based on his extensive knowledge about these assets.”

Amer noted that the size of Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower was inflated on his financial statements, saying Trump “absolutely knew or could have easily ascertained” the size of his own penthouse apartment.

“He was involved in the renovation and creation of the triplex,” Amer said. “And he lives there.”

Attorney general's office cites Michael Cohen testimony about Trump's meanings

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (9)

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump, center, exits New York State Supreme Court in New York, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.

Andrew Amer, a lawyer for the New York attorney general’s office, pointed to testimony from Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, who alleged that Trump directed him and Allen Weisselberg to “reverse-engineer” his financial statements to inflate his net worth.

Amer said that the defense failed to put Trump on the stand to rebut Cohen’s claims and, as a result, Judge Arthur Engoron “should infer fairly that the reverse-engineering instructions were given by Mr. Trump just as Mr. Cohen described.”

Trump’s attorneys have argued Cohen’s testimony had no credibility after he went back on his initial statements to say Trump didn’t directly tell him to inflate the numbers.

“He tells you what he wants without specifically telling you,” Cohen said. “We understood what he wanted.”

Attorney general lays out allegations of fraud for multiple Trump properties

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell

Andrew Amer, a lawyer for the New York attorney general, is walking through the allegations of fraud in Donald Trump’s financial statements related to multiple Trump properties.

Amer and assistant attorney general Kevin Wallace showed in court a powerpoint presentation with trial testimony for each property akin to a college lecture.

“The material nature of the inflation of the assets is just so obvious,” Amer said, reminding Judge ArthurEngoron that he already ruled the “false inflation was in fact material,” in the summary judgment order before the trial began.

Amer asserted that former Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, a co-defendant in the case, had to know that rent-stabilized units were worth less than unrestricted apartments when he purposely overvalued Trump Park Ave on the financial statements by falsely claiming they were not rent-stabilized.

Amer insisted McConney knew what he was doing.

Amer then moved on to Mar-a-Lago arguing that Trump valued it as a single-family residence on his financial statements, even though a deed from 2002 showed Trump could only use the property as a social club.

Engoron again asked Amer, “How do you know he read the deed?”

Amer said McConney had it in his possession and used appraisals that referenced the deed.

Trump’s lawyers have argued Trump could convert Mar-a-Lago into a private residence in the future and that it is under-valued in the financial statements.

Attorneys for Trump and Attorney General Letitia James disagree on the burden of proof the attorney general’s office must prove in this case.

James’ legal team argues they only have to prove their claims by a “preponderance of the evidence,” or that it is more likely than not that the fraud occurred.

Trump’s lawyers say they must prove Trump and his co-defendants committed the fraud by “clear and convincing evidence” — a higher standard of proof.

But it ultimately doesn’t matter what standard Engoron rules by because the attorney general has proven the case with “overwhelming and conclusive” evidence, Amer argued Thursday afternoon.

Amer also argued that there was plenty of evidence of their intent to defraud the users of the financial statements, pointing to Trump’s triplex apartment, which the company valued at 30,000 square feet, not the actual square footage of 10,996 square feet.

Amer said Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Org., was alerted by Forbes magazine to the error but days later signed off on the 2016 financial statement with the wrong amount, resulting in a tripling of the value of the three-story apartment.

Trump says he will attend E. Jean Carroll defamation trial next week

From CNN's Kate Sullivan
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (10)

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on Thursday in New York.

Former President Donald Trump said Thursday he would attend the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial that is set to begin next week.

“Yeah, I’m going to go to it and I’m going to explain I don’t know who the hell she is, I have no idea,” Trump told reporters in response to a question by CNN’s Kristen Holmes.

Trump held a brief media appearance Thursday afternoon as the New York attorney general’s office presented closing arguments in the civil fraud trial.

A federal judge has already ruled that the jury hearing Carroll’s defamation lawsuit will only need to decide how much money Trump will have to pay her after the judge found the former president was liable for making defamatory statements.

Carroll, a former magazine columnist, alleged Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in the mid-1990s and then defamed her when he denied her claim.

In May, after a separate two-week trial, a jury found Trump sexually abused Carroll and defamed her when he said in 2022 that he didn’t rape her, didn’t know her and that she wasn’t his “type.”

In that case, the jury awarded Carroll $5 million in damages.

Attorney general's office: "We're back to hearing the same arguments from the defendants"

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell

Kevin Wallace is beginning the closing arguments for the New York attorney general’s office in the $370 million civil fraud case.

“It’s obviously a great sense of de ja vu for all of us,” Wallace began. “And we’re back to hearing the same arguments from the defendants.”

Wallace said that the defendants have not been able to dispute any of the facts that Trump submitted false financial statements.

“The statements of financial condition were false, every year of issue, 2011 to 2021,” Wallace said, saying the discrepancies were as much as $2.2 billion.

Former President Donald Trump is not in attendance, having appeared at a separate press availability while the plaintiffs present their case.

Wallace went after the defense’s experts who said there was no fraud in the case, saying Trump’s legal team paid their experts to invent facts. “As you see with all of the experts, their opinions have nothing to do with the facts of this case as established in summary judgment or at trial.”

At that, Engoron challenged Wallace, asking, “Did you pay your experts?”

“I’m just making the point. Both sides paid for experts, so it proves nothing that one side did,” Engoron said.

After some back-and-forth, in which Wallace acknowledge the attorney general’s experts were paid, Wallace moved on to criticize the testimony of the defense witnesses one-by-one.

When Wallace quipped that the line-up of defense witnesses was akin to a “murderers’ row” like the 1927 New York Yankees, including friends of Trump, golfing buddies and members at Mar-a-Lago, Kise objected saying the remark was offensive.

Engoron said he would give Wallace some poetic license, asking if Wallace was being literal about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, before allowing Wallace to proceed.

Kise interrupted Wallace on two more occasions, prompting the assistant attorney general to complain that the plaintiffs did not interject during the defense team’s presentation.

Trump goes into campaign speech mode in court address, says judge has "own agenda"

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (11)

Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial in New York on Thursday.

Donald Trump spoke from the defense table for roughly five minutes as closing arguments concluded, before Judge Arthur Engoron cut him off.

Trump’s comments were similar to what he’s said in public all along during the trial.

“The facts are the financial statements are perfect, that there are no witnesses against us. The banks got all their money paid back. There were great loans,” Trump said.

“This was a political witch hunt,” Trump added, claiming that “we should receive damages.”

“We have a situation where I’m an innocent man I’ve been persecuted by somebody running for office and I think you have to go outside the bounds,” the former president said.

“What’s happened here sir is a fraud on me,” Trump said. “They want to make sure that I don’t win again and this is partially election interference.”

After several minutes, Engoron interrupted Trump. “One minute, that’s all I’m saying,” the judge said.

“Mr. Kise, please control your client,” Engoron responded to Trump attorney Chris Kise.

“Your honor look, I did nothing wrong,” he said. “They should pay me for what we had to go through. What they’ve done to me reputationally and everything else.”

At 1 p.m., Engoron cut him off, showing the time on his phone. “Mr. Kise this could’ve been done differently and you would’ve had a lot more time. Mr. Trump, thank you.”

Trump again asks to speak in court

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (12)

Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom before the start of closing arguments in his civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on Thursday.

Donald Trump attorney Chris Kise is now asking Judge Arthur Engoron to reconsider letting the former president speak for two to three minutes.

Engoron asked Trump if he will promise to just comment on the facts in the case.

“Well I think your honor that I think this case goes outside just the facts,” Trump responded, speaking from the defense table.

He then launched into a monologue.

“The facts are the financial statements are perfect, that there are no witnesses against us. The banks got all their money paid back. There were great loans,” Trump continued.

Trump sons weren't involved, lawyer says

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell

Attorney Cliff Robert, representing Donald Trump’s two adult sons, said they weren’t instrumental in the financial statements from the Trump Organization found to be fraudulent.

“There is not one — not one — witness that says Eric Trump or Donald Trump, Jr. had anything more than peripheral involvement in the statement of financial condition,” Robert said.

Robert referenced a 2010 email to Eric Trump that was part of the attorney general’s case, arguing there was no reason to think he would have read every email he received.

Judge Arthur Engoron then joked to Robert: “I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately I don’t read.”

The attorney, however, pushed back, saying that he appreciates light moments in a tense environment, “I don’t want to underscore the serious and catastrophic nature of the relief that the attorney general is seeking especially as it relates to my clients.”

Robert also continued a theme of Thursday’s presentations knocking Michael Cohen’s credibility.

“Even he was forced to admit that Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr had absolutely nothing to do with the statements of financial condition,” he said.

Trump attorney Habba says New York attorney general tried to "intimidate" Trump Org. executives

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (13)

Former President Donald Trump, with lawyer Alina Habba, attend the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court on Thursday.

Donald Trump attorney Alina Habba focused her arguments during the closing for her clients Jeff McConney and Allen Weisselberg, who are former executives at the Trump Organization and co-defendants in the case.

They’re named as defendants because New York Attorney General Letitia James wants to get to Trump, Habba alleged.

“They’re trying to intimidate my other clients to get to him,” Habba said. “They want you to believe that if a human error exists, that is perfect, perfect for the Attorney General Ms. James to come after Trump. It is not.”

Habba knocked the insurance fraud claims against McConney, the former Trump Organization controller, and Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer, in the attorney general’s complaint.

She noted that the insurance company in the complaint, Zurich, issued Trump’s company seven bonds in 2023.

Habba also added that McConney was being unfairly targeted when he relied on Mazars, Trump’s accounting firm, and is not himself an accountant.

“The man stood here and cried, and said he was tired of being bullied, tired of being subpoenaed, when all he did was his best work,” Habba said.

Second Trump attorney begins her arguments, says fraud claims don't make sense

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell

Alina Habba, an attorney representing former President Donald Trump as well as Trump Organization executives, is now speaking in the defense’s closing arguments.

Habba began her presentation by attacking New York Attorney General Letitia James and accusing her of a politically motivated prosecution of Trump.

“You are now being dragged through a political agenda,” Habba said to Judge Arthur Engoron.

“If they wanted to commit fraud,” Habba said of her clients, “why would they select Deutsche Bank, Zurich Insurance, some of the most sophisticated, highly regulated companies in the world? It makes no sense.”

Trump attorney Chris Kise finishes his closing arguments after nearly 2 hours

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (14)

Flanked by his defense attorneys, Chris Kise, left, and Alina Habba, former President Donald Trump waits for closing arguments to begin in his civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on Thursday.

Donald Trump attorney Chris Kise concluded his closing argument by urging the judge to reject the claims against the former president, saying that the case goes beyond Trump.

Kise charged that the attorney general “wants limitless power to intervene” in commercial real estate transactions.”

You just cannot allow the attorney general to pursue a victimless crime and impose a corporate death penalty,” Kise said, referencing the attorney general seeking to bar Trump from doing business in the state.

“They’re trying to get you to buy into their theory to allow them to weaponize” the law against Trumps business, Kise said. “Don’t do it.”

When Kise finished his roughly two-hour presentation, Engoron noted it was “quite the feat of endurance.”

Defense attorneys Alina Habba and Cliff Robert are also expected to speak in the closing argument.

Judge and Trump lawyer spar over the significance of a $2 billion difference

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle, and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (15)

Former President Donald Trump sits in New York State Supreme Court during his civil fraud trial on January 11, 2024 in New York City.

Judge Arthur Engoron has interrupted Trump attorney Chris Kise at several points during closing arguments Thursday.

Kise has repeatedly said the New York attorney general’s team did not rebut testimony of many key Trump defense witnesses, including two defense experts who said Mar-A-Lago was undervalued and could be used as a private residence.

Engoron stopped Kise to acknowledge while he agrees the testimony wasn’t rebutted, “I don’t believe I have to accept testimony even if its unrebutted if I don’t’ find it credible.”

The judge interrupted Trump’s lawyer again to push back on whether $2 billion was “material” or significant in this case.

Kise argued - as he did at trial – that Deutsche Bank loaned Trump millions of dollars after independently verifying Trump’s self-reported asset values. The bank adjusted his net worth by $2 billion at one point but did not find it material. It wasn’t material to the bank, so it shouldn’t be material in this case, Kise argued.

“That’s not logically correct,” the judge said.

The standard for materiality is whether it’s material to the average person, Engoron said.

“Let me ask you this, is materiality an objective standard or a subjective standard?” Engoron asked Kise.

Kise said it was subjective and pointed to the testimony of New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov, who said that there were no material misstatements in Trump’s financial statements.

“I didn’t lend much credence to Mr. Bartov,” Engoron responded.

“I didn’t think that was fair, as you know,” Kise said. “They were not concerned about a $2 billion differential,” Kise said of Deutsche Bank, saying the bank awarded loans to Trump based on their own adjusted values.“

This has to be viewed through the lens of the bank,” Kise said.

“Of a bank. Not the bank. We disagree,” Engoron responded.

The debate continued over Kise’s argument against Trump being liable for disgorgement, or “ill-gotten gains” from his Deutsche Bank loan rates.

“Do you believe that for disgorgement there has to be harm to be a third party?” Engoron asked.

“There has to be trespass to their legal rights,” Kise said. “The president here in this case has to receive something from Deutsche Bank that he would not have otherwise received.”

Threat at home of judge presiding over Trump civil fraud trial unfounded and deemed swatting, police say

From CNN's Nic F. Anderson

Nassau County Police say the threat reported at the home of New York Judge Arthur Engoron was a “swatting incident” and an unfounded threat.

Engoron is presiding over closing arguments in the $370 million civil fraud trial against Donald Trump. Thursday’s court session began on schedule and the judge did not mention the incident in court.

The Nassau County, New York, police department and bomb squad had responded to the threat.

Separately, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman issued a statement.

Some background on the threats against the judge: Security around the judge has been increased during the trial.

Thursday’sbomb threatis the latest in theseries of threats the judge and one of his clerks have receivedover the course of the trial that began last fall.

Since October 3, when Trump posted on social media a baseless allegation aboutEngoron’slaw clerk, threats against the judge “increased exponentially” and were also directed to his clerk, Charles Hollon, a court officer-captain in New York assigned to the Judicial Threats Assessment unit of the Department of Public Safety, said in November.

Hollon said the threats against the judge and his clerk are “considered to be serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative.”

Details in a court filing outline dozens of messages daily, phone doxing and the use of antisemitic language.

Hollon said Engoron’s law clerk has received 20 to 30 calls per day to her personal cell phone and 30 to 50 messages daily on social media platforms and two personal email addresses.

Current Trump attorney attacks credibility of one of Trump's former attorneys, Michael Cohen

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle, and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (16)

Former President Donald Trump, right, and defense attorney Chris Kise wait for closing arguments to begin in his civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on Thursday.

Trump attorney Chris Kise went after the credibility of former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, accusing Cohen of being a serial liar who went back on his own testimony on the witness stand in this trial.

Kise said that Cohen was the “only witness” from the attorney general’s office alleging there was an intent to defraud.

“This is a serial liar,” Kise said of Cohen. “He admitted he lied to Congress. He pled guilty to lying to Congress … He admitted he lied to Judge (William) Pauley in his sentencing.”

Judge Arthur Engoron smiled when Kise citedrecent headlinesthat Cohen used AI to generate fake legal cases in a legal filing.

“It’s absurd and insulting for the attorney general to even ask you to find him credible,” Kise said.

Kise accused Cohen of using his testimony against Trump to generate attention for his podcast and media appearances. After Cohen testified to the attorney general that Trump had “asked me and Allen Weisselberg to inflate the numbers,” he went back on that testimony under cross-examination, Kise alleged.“He then said President Trump did not direct him to inflate the numbers,” Kise said.

Duringhis testimony, Cohen had testified that Trump did not directly tell him to inflate the numbers, but argued that Trump’s intent was clear.“He tells you what he wants without specifically telling you,” Cohen said. “We understood what he wanted.”

Judge interrupts Trump attorney to say the former president doesn't qualify as an "expert witness"

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle, and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (17)

Judge Arthur Engoron sits in the courtroom before the start of closing arguments in former President Donald Trump's civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on Thursday.

Trump attorney Chris Kise spoke in his closing arguments about Donald Trump’s testimony during the former president’s civil trial, emphasizing that Trump said he did not intend for Deutsche Bank to rely solely on his personal financial statements when the bank loaned him money.

Kise reminded the judge that he heard directly from Trump, who is an “industry expert.”

“He has been part of the fabric of the commercial real estate industry in this community, in this state and frankly all around the world for nearly 50 years,” Kise said.

Judge Arthur Engoron, however, interrupted Kise to clarify Trump was not qualified as an expert witness at trial.

The judge should still give weight to Trump’s success and expertise, Kise said.

Trump lawyer agues that there was no "motive to lie" about finances to Deutsche Bank

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle, and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (18)

Former President Donald Trump sits in New York State Supreme Court during his civil fraud trial on January 11, in New York.

Trump testified that he never intended Deutsche Bank would rely solely on his statements of financial condition in their due diligence before loaning him money, his attorney Chris said Thursday.

Trump testified “that is not what banks do in his experience,” Kise said.

“The attorney general conjures up another goblin,” according to Kise, by alleging that Trump had “motive to lie” to get Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management pricing, where he was able to obtain better loan rates than the bank’s commercial loan division.

But Trump exceeded the requirement for the special pricing with his net worth, his lawyer said.

The New York attorney general alleges that Trump inflated the value of his assets on his statements of financial condition in order to obtain better loan rates from Deutsche Bank.

Trump’s key accounting expert, New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov, who said the errors on Trump’s financial statements were not material, was “unfairly maligned” by Judge Arthur Engoron in a recent court order, Kise argued.

Kise reminded the court that Bartov acknowledged there were mistakes in Trump’s financial statements but no indication of financial misconduct.

In an order denying Trump’s request to dismiss the case, Engoron wrote that Bartov’s testimony was “lost all credibility.”

“Bartov is a tenured professor, but all that his testimony proves is that for a million or so dollars, some experts will say whatever you want them to say,” Engoron wrote. “By doggedly attempting to justify every misstatement, Professor Bartov lost all credibility.”

Judge overseeing Trump civil trial does not address bomb threat made at his home this morning

From CNN’s Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle, and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (19)

Judge Arthur Engoron sits in the courtroom before the start of closing arguments in former President Donald Trump's civil business fraud trial at New York Supreme Court on Thursday in New York.

At the start of court Thursday morning, Judge Arthur Engoron did not address the reported bomb threat made at his home hours earlier, nor did he address former president Donald Trump’s request to speak during closing arguments, which he denied on Wednesday.

The bomb threat is the latest in a series of threats made against Engoron and one of his clerks during the trial.

Engoron concluded his comments by thanking the attorneys for keeping the trial on schedule.

“This might be one of my last chances to congratulate and thank the attorneys,” the judge said.

Trump's attorneys begin closing arguments

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Lauren del Valle
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (20)

Former President Donald Trump attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York on Thursday.

Trump attorney Chris Kise has begun his closing argument.

Kise summarized his defense argument by saying that no witnesses testified to fraud, to any material misstatements, or that the loan terms and pricing would have been different.

“The attorney general is seeking to strip them - according to the papers - of everything,” Kise said.

A pool camera was allowed into the courtroom to film Trump, Judge Arthur Engoron, New York Attorney General Letitia James and others, but now that court has started there are no live cameras allowed.

Trump’s side has until 12:45 p.m. ET.

Trump speaks outside courtroom and calls the case an "unconstitutional witch hunt"

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (21)

DonaldTrump is seen at New York State Supreme Court in New York City on Thursday.

Former President Donald Trump spoke to reporters outside of the courtroom before closing arguments, calling the $370 million lawsuit against him and his company an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”

It’s “election interference at the highest level” and a “disgrace,” Trump said, statements that have been a constant since New York Attorney General Letitia James filed the lawsuit.

Trump civil trial closing arguments will get underway soon. Here's what to know before they start

From CNN's Jeremy Herb,Kara ScannellandLauren del Valle
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (22)

The New York State Supreme Court is seen in New York City on Thursday morning.

Donald Trumpplans to attend closing arguments for his New York civil fraud trial Thursday, where the former president’s business empire in the state is at stake.

Trump is not expected to speak in court, however, after Judge Arthur Engoron rejected a request because Trump would not agree to restrictions on what he could discuss.

The last-minute drama over Trump’s role at the final day of the civil fraud trial encapsulates what has been a bitter, argument-filled, three-month-long circus pitting Trump and his attorneys against both the New York attorney general’s office and the judge overseeing the case.

New York Attorney General Letitia Jamesis seeking $370 million in damages and to bar Trump from doing business in the state, alleging that Trump, his adult sons and his company defrauded banks and insurance companies by inflating the value of Trump’s assets.

Engoron already ruled that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for persistent and repeated fraud before the trial began. The11-week trial late last yearwas held to determine the scope of damages and six additional claims from the attorney general, including conspiracy, issuing false financial statements, falsifying business records, and insurance fraud.

Trump has railed against the trial, accusing the attorney general and the judge of participating in a political attack against him. He attended the trial over multiple days and testified at the trial, turning the witnesses stand and his statements outside of the courtroom into extensions of his campaign rallies.

Engoron will not issue a decision on Thursday. He said he will issue a written order by the end of the month at the earliest. Trump’s attorneys have already appealed Engoron’s initial ruling against Trump and repeatedly made clear during the case that they plan to appeal his subsequent decision, too.

Here's what's at stake in the Trump civil fraud trial

From CNN's Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (23)

A general view of the New York State Supreme Court ahead of the Trump civil fraud trial in New York City on November 13, 2023.

Judge Arthur Engoron already ruled before the start of the New York civil fraud trial thatformer President Donald Trump and his co-defendants committed “persistent and repeated” fraud.

The judge is now considering how much the Trumps will have to pay in damages for the profits they’ve allegedly garnered through fraudulent business practices, including inflating Trump’s worth on financial statements.

The attorney general is seeking to provesixadditional claims:

  • Falsifying business records
  • Conspiracy to falsify business records
  • Issuing false financial statements
  • Conspiracy to falsify false financial statements
  • Insurance fraud
  • Conspiracy to commit insurance fraud

The attorney general is also seeking to ban the Trumps from doing business in New York.

The trial saw a slew of fireworks, including the judge imposing two fines onDonaldTrump totaling $15,000 for violating his gag order forbidding anyone from commenting about his staff. Trump had repeatedly criticized Engoron’s law clerk.

Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James arrive at courthouse

From CNN's Dan Berman
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (24)

Donald Trump motorcade is seen in New York City on Thursday.

Former President Donald Trump’s motorcade has arrived at the courthouse in Lower Manhattan for the closing arguments in the $370 million civil fraud trial.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the lawsuit against the former president, his adult sons and his company, also has walked into the building. On top of the damages, James wants to bar Trump from doing business in the state.

Court is expected to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

Inside the drama over Trump's wish to deliver a closing statement

From CNN's Jeremy Herb,Kara ScannellandLauren del Valle

Donald Trump had planned to attend the closing arguments for days, but he added a twist last week when his lawyers told Judge Arthur Engoron that the former president planned to make part of the presentation himself.

That lead to a what became a contentious back-and-forth between Engoron and Trump attorney Chris Kise.

Engoron said that he would allow Trump to speak if he would agree to state on the record that he would limit his subjects to what was permissible in a closing argument, noting there was also a gag order on statements about court officials.

Kise responded that Trump would not agree to such terms.

“Hecannotagree(nor would i recommendhedo so) to theproposedpreconditions andprior restraints,” Kise wrote.

Engoronpushed back in an email Tuesday: “Your and your client’s rejection of the reasonable, normal limits I am imposing on any argument by Mr. Trump, which are the same limits that the law imposes on any person making a closing argument, completely justifies the need to impose them.”

Engoronextended the deadline to agree to the terms more than once — Trump’s attorneys had noted the recent death of Melania Trump’s mother and also wanted to delay the entire court session — and gave Trump’s team a final chance just before noon Wednesday.

So how did things end? The deadline was not met. Trump will still be free to speak outside the courtroom on camera, just as he has done whenever he attended the trial.

Trump departs Trump Tower on his way to court for closing arguments in his civil fraud trial

From CNN's Laura Dolan

Former President Donald Trump has departed Trump Tower and is now en route to court in downtown Manhattan where he will voluntarily attend closing arguments for his civil fraud trial.

About the civil fraud trial: In post-trial briefs filed last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James increased the amount of damages she is seeking from $250 million to $370 million in damages.

She also wants to bar Trump from doing business in the state, alleging that Trump, his adult sons and his company defrauded banks and insurance companies by inflating the value of Trump’s assets.

Judge and his clerk have received hundreds of "serious and credible" threats over course of trial

From CNN's Dan Berman and Kara Scannell

Thursday’s bomb threat to the house of New York Judge Arthur Engoron is the latest in the series of threats the judge and one of his clerks have received over the course of the trial that began last fall.

Since October 3, when Trump posted on social media a baseless allegation about Engoron’s law clerk, threats against the judge “increased exponentially” and were also directed to his clerk, Charles Hollon, a court officer-captain in New York assigned to the Judicial Threats Assessment unit of the Department of Public Safety, said in November.

Hollon said the threats against the judge and his clerk are “considered to be serious and credible and not hypothetical or speculative.”

Details in a court filing outline dozens of messages daily, phone doxing and the use of antisemitic language.

Hollon said Engoron’s law clerk has received 20 to 30 calls per day to her personal cell phone and 30 to 50 messages daily on social media platforms and two personal email addresses.

Bomb threat reported at house of judge presiding over the Trump civil fraud trial as court expected to proceed

From CNN's Kara Scannell

There was a bomb threat at the home of New York Judge Arthur Engoron hours before closing arguments in the Trump civil fraud trial were set to begin Thursday.

The Nassau County, New York, police department and bomb squad responded, a person familiar with the matter said.

“We’ve had layers of security protocols in place since the onset of the proceedings. They will continue,” the spokesman said. He added extra layers of security have been added for Engoron’s safety.

“We anticipate the proceedings to continue as planned, he said.

The judge will decide on the fate of Trump's business after 11 weeks of testimony

From CNN's Jeremy Herb,Lauren del ValleandKara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (25)

Judge Arthur Engoron, right, sits on the bench with principal law clerk Allison Greenfield before the start of the civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization, at the New York State Supreme Court in New York City on December 7, 2023.

Both parties are set to present oral closing arguments on Thursday to cap off the civil fraud trial against former President Donald Trump.

Testimony in the 11-week trial concluded on December 13in New York. The ruling could decide the fate of the former president’s business empire.

The drama in and out of the courtroomoffered a preview of Trump’s criminaltrials slated to begin later this year. Trump used the hallways, flanked with cameras, outside of the courtroom to campaign and rail against the case and throw barbs atNew York Attorney GeneralLetitia Jamesand JudgeArthur Engoron.

Trump also was hit with a gag order after attacking one of the judge’s clerks.

Before the trial began, Engoron found Trump and his co-defendants were liable for fraud; the trial would determine what they could owe inimproper gainsand six additional claims brought by the attorney general. The attorney general is seeking more than $250 million and to bar the Trumps from doing business in the state.

Now, Engoron will determine how much the Trumps and their company must pay in disgorgement and the fate of their business in New York. The judge said he’ll aim to file a written decision on the docket by the end ofJanuary.

Here are key takeaways from the trial.

Key takeaways from Trump's previous testimony in the New York civil fraud trial

From CNN's Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell
Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (26)

In this courtroom sketch, Judge Arthur Engoron, center, speaks to Chris Kise, left, directing him to speak with Trump, far right, to answer the questions by the assistant attorney general in New York City on November 6, 2023.

Donald Trump brought bombastic rhetoric to the witness stand at the beginning of November in the civil fraud case against him and his business. While he was testifying for the prosecution, hespent his time on the standattacking the New York attorney general who brought the case and the judge overseeing the trial itself.

Now, Trump’s attorneys and the New York attorney general’s office will present closing arguments in the case on Thursday. The judge said he will aim to file a written decision on the docket by the end ofJanuary.

Trump’s testimony at times mimicked his appearances on the campaign trail, where the former president has made the four criminal cases against him a central part of his argument to be elected president again in 2024.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who has clashed with Trump throughout the trial, at first tried to stopthe former president’spolitical barbs and speechifying, telling his lawyer Chris Kise to “control your client” and threatening to have Trump removed as a witness. Eventually, the judge stopped trying to control Trump — he and the attorney general’s lawyer questioningTrump let him rant, and then mostly disregardedthe missives.

Trump decided not to testify again for the defense.

Here are some of thekey takeaways from Trump’s time on the stand:

  • Trump’s campaign comes to the courtroom:The former president’s rhetoric at times during his testimony might as well have been at one of his rallies in front of supporters. He went after the attorney general. The judge. And the “political witch hunt” that he’s been railing against for years now. On the witness stand, the charged rhetoric was even more remarkable, as he attacked the judge sitting right next to him, with James in the courtroom watching his testimony just feet away. “The fraud is on the court, not on me,”Trump said.
  • Trump gets an angry response from the judge:Judge Engoron tried at the outset of Trump’s testimony to stopthe former president frommaking speeches andinsteadanswer the questions, but it did little to change Trump’s approach. The judge responded by threatening to remove Trump from the witness stand, though that didn’t deter the former president either. “This is not a political rally,”Engoron said to Trump, telling Trump’s attorney to “control your client.”
  • Trump acknowledges changing valuation of Trump Tower triplex:The attorney general’s office pressed Trump on the properties central tohisidentity and brand: Mar-a-Lago, Trump Tower and other key parts of his real estate empire. The AG’s office attorney Kevin Wallace also pressed Trump on why valuations of properties were changed, such as his Trump Tower triplex, which was devalued on his financial statement in 2017 after a Forbes article found he had dramatically exaggerated the size of the apartment. Trump acknowledged there had on occasion been mistakes, such as the Trump Tower apartment valuation.
  • Trump’s descriptions of his properties:The former president’s rhetorical flourishes went beyond attacking those who are investigating him. He also took the opportunity to play salesman and play up his properties. One of his chief complaints about the judge is a citation in his decision that Mar-a-Lago was worth $18 million, a number based on Florida tax appraisal records “It’s much more valuable,” Trump said of Mar-a-Lago, “and we’ll show that in two weeks or five weeks or nine weeks or whenever this thing goes, that it’s biggest value is using it as a club.” Wallace took the answer to pin him down on that valuation.“You believe that as of today Mar-a-Lago is worth $1.5billion?” Wallace asked. “I think between abillionand abillion-five,” Trump responded.

Catch up on other takeaways from the former president’s previous testimony here.

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Live updates: Closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York | CNN Politics (2024)
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