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In a surprising turn of events, former President Donald Trump is seeking to personally deliver part of his closing arguments in the ongoing New York fraud trial.

Despite lacking legal training and having a team of defense lawyers, Trump’s request falls within the bounds of New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules, awaiting approval from Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.

While it may seem unconventional, New York law permits a plaintiff or defendant to act in person in a trial with the court’s consent. Engoron has yet to decide whether Trump will be granted this unusual opportunity, leaving the legal community intrigued about the potential implications.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, and a spokesperson for the former president have not commented on this distinctive request. However, legal experts note that “hybrid representation” is rare in civil cases, though more common in criminal trials.

Veteran New York City attorney Ron Kuby speculates that Judge Engoron might allow Trump to present closing arguments, stating, “He’d never be reversed on appeal over this.” Kuby emphasizes that Trump, if permitted, would be bound by the same rules as any attorney, limiting arguments to the evidence presented during the trial.

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Kuby adds a touch of humor to the situation, noting, “The defendant can’t just sit up there and shriek until the judge hits them with a rolled-up newspaper.”

Career New York City trial attorney Michael Farkas acknowledges the unusual nature of a defendant contributing to closing statements but points out that it is not prohibited by the rules. Farkas believes Judge Engoron may find it challenging to deny Trump’s request, as it could be seen as potential prejudice against the former president in a future appeal.

The closing arguments mark the culmination of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ nearly six-year investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization. The allegations include a decade-long conspiracy to fraudulently inflate Trump’s net worth by over two billion dollars annually in financial statements.

Engoron, who had previously found Trump and his co-defendants guilty of fraud pre-trial, promises a verdict by the end of the month. The outcome will determine the potential liability for breaking state document fraud statutes and the final financial penalties for Trump and his five co-defendants.

As the trial approaches its conclusion, the unconventional prospect of Trump delivering closing arguments adds another layer of intrigue to this high-profile legal battle.


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