Donald Trump defied a judge and launched into a six-minute speech on being an “innocent man” as his civil fraud trial in New York came to an end today.
Mr Trump had been barred from giving a formal closing argument at the trial but after two of his lawyers delivered the traditional speeches, one asked if the former US president could speak.
The judge then asked Trump if he would keep his remarks focused on the trial – which is when he launched into a speech on being “persecuted” and accused the judge of not listening to him.
“We have a situation where I am an innocent man,” Mr Trump said.
“I’m being persecuted by someone running for office and I think you have to go outside the bounds.”
“This is a fraud on me. What’s happened here, Sir, is a fraud on me,” he later said, before telling Judge Arthur Engoron: “I know this is boring you.”
One of Mr Trump’s lawyers was then told to “control your client”.
Image: Trump attending the closing arguments in his civil trial at the New York State Supreme Court The judge let Mr Trump speak almost entirely uninterrupted for six minutes, then cut him off and recessed for lunch.
Hours before the closing arguments, Mr Engoron was subject to a bomb threat, Sky News’s US partner network NBC News reported.
Police in Nassau County – east of New York City – responded to the threat at his home on Thursday morning, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
It is not known the judge was in the house at the time.
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Image: Judge Arthur Engoron was the subject of a bomb threat before the final day of the trial The threat caused a delay in processing lawyers and members of the media through security gate queues at the court on Thursday morning.
Mr Engoron will issue a verdict at a later date without a jury, after he found Mr Trump liable for fraud in September – leaving the trial to focus on how much money he should surrender as ill-gotten gains.
The lawsuit, brought forward by New York attorney general Letitia James, alleges Mr Trump and his associates inflated the value of his assets by billions of dollars to secure better loan terms.
The state of New York is seeking nearly $370m (£291m) from the former president in penalties.
Mr Trump has decried the case as a political witch hunt and denied wrongdoing.
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Can Donald Trump win the 2024 election? The lawsuit is just one of many legal troubles Mr Trump faces as he campaigns to challenge President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.
Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty in four criminal prosecutions, including two that charge him with unlawfully trying to overturn his 2020 election loss to Mr Biden.
All could go to trial before this year’s election.