Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise, cited Trump’s mother-in-law’s death in requesting that New York Judge Arthur Engoron postpone closing arguments Thursday in his $370million civil fraud trial. Kise wrote that Trump ‘was very close to’ Knavs, Fox News reported. Engoron replied he was ‘sorry to hear the sad news’, but denied Trump’s request.
On Wednesday night, about 24 hours after Knavs’ death, Trump skipped the fifth 2024 Republican debate in Iowa. Instead, he spoke at a competing Fox News town hall close by, slamming his opponents and saying ‘nobody cared too much’ about Chris Christie who exited the 2024 race.
Trump had requested to deliver his own closing statement in the fraud trial, but Engoron rescinded permission. On Thursday afternoon, Trump defied the judge and gave a raucous six-minute courtroom speech before being cut off by Engoron.
‘I did nothing wrong, they should pay me for what we’ve had to go through… What happened here, sir, is a fraud on me,’ Trump rambled to Engoron.
‘I know you have your agenda.’
His brief address was not televised, but Trump then held his own press conference at his building at 40 Wall Street as the closing arguments resumed.
‘My legal issues, every one of them, every one – civil and criminal ones – are all set up by Joe Biden. Crooked Joe Biden,’ Trump told reporters.
‘They’re doing it for election interference, and, in a way, I guess you’d consider it part of the campaign, because if you really look at it, they are doing this, and it’s never been done like this in this country. It’s like we are a Third World country – a banana republic.’
Trump’s actions drew a slew of chatter on social media in relation to Melania and the family’s loss.
‘The “It’s cruel if the judge not to let Trump be with his wife in her time of grief” argument would be less cynical if Trump had actually cared about consoling Melania,’ wrote journalist and author James Surowiecki on X. ‘Instead, he went to Iowa for a campaign event.’