Trump reverses day earlier than anticipated New York fraud trial look and says he received’t testify once more

Donald Trump mentioned Sunday he has determined in opposition to testifying for a second time at his New York civil fraud trial, posting on social media a day earlier than his scheduled look that he “very efficiently & conclusively” testified final month and noticed no want to take action once more.

The previous president, the main contender for the 2024 Republican nomination, had been anticipated to return to the witness stand Monday as a coda to his protection in opposition to New York Attorney General Letitia James ‘ lawsuit.

James, a Democrat, alleges Trump inflated his wealth on monetary statements utilized in securing loans and making offers. The case threatens Trump’s actual property empire and cuts to the center of his picture as a profitable businessman.

“I cannot be testifying on Monday,” Trump wrote in an all-capital-letters, multipart assertion on his Reality Social platform lower than 20 hours earlier than he was to take the witness stand.

“I’ve already testified to the whole lot & don’t have anything extra to say,” Trump added, leaving the ultimate phrase amongst protection witnesses to an accounting knowledgeable employed by his authorized group who testified last week that he discovered “no proof, in any way, for any accounting fraud” in Trump’s monetary statements.

A Trump spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to questions on his resolution.

The choice was an abrupt change from Trump’s posture in latest days, when his legal professionals mentioned he was insistent on testifying once more regardless of their issues about a gag order that has price him $15,000 in fines for disparaging the choose’s legislation clerk.

“President Trump has already testified. There’s actually nothing extra to say to a choose who has imposed an unconstitutional gag order and up to now seems to have ignored President Trump’s testimony and that of everybody else concerned within the complicated monetary transactions at problem within the case,” Trump lawyer Christopher Kise mentioned Sunday.

Trump’s resolution got here days after his son, Eric Trump, ditched his return look on the witness stand. Trump mentioned on social media that he’d informed Eric to cancel.

It additionally follows Trump’s first journey again to court docket since he testified within the case on Nov. 6. Final Thursday, he watched from the defense table because the accounting professor, New York College professor Eli Bartov, blasted the state’s case and mentioned Trump’s monetary statements “weren’t materially misstated.”

Trump’s cancellation caught court docket officers without warning. With out Trump on the witness stand, the trial might be on maintain till Tuesday, when Bartov will end his testimony. State legal professionals say they’ll then name not less than one rebuttal witness.

In an announcement, James mentioned whether or not Trump testified once more or not, “we’ve already confirmed that he dedicated years of monetary fraud and unjustly enriched himself and his household. Irrespective of how a lot he tries to distract from actuality, the info don’t lie.”

Trump was usually defiant and combative when he testified Nov. 6. Together with defending his wealth and denying wrongdoing, he repeatedly sparred with the choose, whom he criticized as “extraordinarily hostile,” and slammed James as “a political hack.”

Trump answered questions from state legal professionals for about 3½ hours, usually responding with prolonged diatribes. His verbose solutions irked the choose, Arthur Engoron, who admonished, “This isn’t a political rally.”

Had Trump returned to the stand Monday, it could’ve been his protection legal professionals main the questioning, however legal professionals from James’ workplace might have cross-examined him, too.

Engoron dominated earlier than the trial that Trump and other defendants engaged in fraud. He ordered {that a} receiver take management of some Trump properties, however an appeals court has paused that resolution.

Engoron is now contemplating six different claims, together with allegations of conspiracy and insurance coverage fraud. James seeks penalties of greater than $300 million and needs Trump banned from doing enterprise in New York. The choose is deciding, relatively than a jury, as a result of juries aren’t allowed in such a case.

Although testimony is almost over, the trial that began Oct. 2 will bleed into subsequent 12 months. Closing arguments are scheduled for Jan. 11, simply 4 days earlier than the Iowa caucuses begin the presidential primary season. Engoron mentioned he hopes to have a call by the tip of January.

Trump has had a chief function within the trial. Alongside along with his testimony, he has voluntarily gone to court docket eight days to look at witnesses, turning his appearances into de facto campaign stops. Throughout breaks, he has taken full benefit of the cameras parked within the courthouse hallway, spinning what’s taking place contained in the courtroom, the place cameras aren’t allowed, in essentially the most favorable mild.

Trump’s frequent presence in court docket — as a witness, observer and aggrieved defendant — has underscored the distinctive private stakes for a billionaire who’s additionally juggling 4 legal instances and a marketing campaign.

The place different politicians have shied from authorized peril, Trump has leaned in as his court docket and political calendars more and more overlap, with primaries a number of weeks away and the primary of his legal trials slated for March.

However Trump’s curiosity in vindicating his firm and his wealth has additionally run up in opposition to the constraints of the gag order, which was reinstated at the end of November by a state appellate court docket after a two-week interlude. The identical gag order was additionally in impact when he testified in November.

Regardless of the gag order, Trump was adamant in latest days that he’d testify once more — at the same time as considered one of his legal professionals, Alina Habba, mentioned she discouraged him from taking the stand.

“He nonetheless needs to take the stand, despite the fact that my recommendation is, at this level, it’s best to by no means take the stand with a gag order,” Habba informed reporters final week, earlier than Trump modified his thoughts.

Trump spent Saturday night with Habba on the New York Younger Republican Membership’s black-tie gala. On the occasion, a couple of mile from the courthouse, he went on at size highlighting his objections, saying, “I’ve confirmed my innocence actually each single day.”

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