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The anti-Trump judge overseeing the former president’s fraud trial in New York City refused to delay proceedings over the death of First Lady Melania Trump’s mother.
Those revelations were exposed in a series of heated emails between Trump attorney Chris Kise and leftist Judge Arthur Engoron. Kise had asked for a delay so that the former president could be with his wife and family.
Amalija Knavs, the mother of the former first lady died Tuesday. She was 78.
“I am sad to advise the Court that Mrs. Trump’s mother passed away this evening,” Kise wrote. “Because of the challenges presented by this deeply personal family matter, President Trump has asked that I request the Court postpone the date for closing argument until on or after January 29, 2024.”
“I am sorry to hear the sad news,” Engoron wrote in an email. “Every appearance of Mr. Trump requires court officers, court clerks, administrators, security details, technical people, etc. to rearrange their schedules and to plan for the day.”
The judge also reversed his decision to let Trump deliver closing arguments in the civil trial — leading to anger from both sides.
“He may not seek to introduce new evidence. He may not ‘testify.’ He may not comment on irrelevant matters,” Engoron wrote in the email. “In particular, and without limitation, he may not deliver a campaign speech, and he may not impugn myself, my staff, plaintiff, plaintiff’s staff, or the New York State Court System, none of which is relevant to this case, and all of which, except commenting on my staff, can be done, and is being done, in other forums.”
Engoron continued that if Trump violated any rules, he would not hesitate to “cut him off in mid-sentence and admonish him” or end his closing argument, barring him from making future statements in the courtroom.
Kise then confirmed his client would speak in court but once again failed to agree to the limitations, and frustrations began to mount.
“You will have to tell me NOW,” Engoron wrote Wednesday morning. “[It] should take no more than a minute or two.”
“This is very unfair,” Kise replied. “You are not allowing President Trump, who has been wrongfully demeaned and belittled by an out of control, politically motivated Attorney General, to speak about the things that must be spoken about.”
“I won’t debate this yet again,” Engoron replied. “Take it or leave it. Now or never. You have until noon, seven minutes from now.”