Trump won’t testify in NY fraud case after all

December 11, 2023

Former President Trump posted on social media Sunday that he would not testify for a second time in his  civil fraud trial in Manhattan after all.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is suing Trump, his companies and its officers including Trump’s two adult sons over allegations of more than 200 instances of bank, tax and insurance fraud over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021.

Trump was scheduled to testify Monday and be the final witness for the defense, according to his attorney, Chris Kise.

Instead he posted on his Truth Social platform, in all caps, “AS EVERYONE KNOWS, I HAVE VERY SUCCESSFULLY & CONCLUSIVELY TESTIFIED IN THE CORRUPT, BIDEN DIRECTED, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S RIGGED TRIAL AGAINST ME.… I WILL NOT BE TESTIFYING ON MONDAY.”

Trump initially testified on November 6, following testimony from three of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump.

In recent days Trump had been inistent on testifying a second time, but another his attorneys, Alina Habba, said she had discouraged him from doing so because of a gag order in place, barring him from making comments against the court’s staff.

“He still wants to take the stand, even though my advice is, at this point, you should never take the stand with a gag order,” Habba, told reporters last week.

New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron had issued the gag order after Trump targeted Engoron’s principal law clerk by sharing a social media post that included her full name and a photo of her posing with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as they both smiled. Trump’s posting falsely called the clerk “Schumer’s girlfriend” and accused her of “running this case against me.”

According to a court filing last month, Engoron’s clerk has been the target of a “deluge” of threats since Trump complained about her on social media, to the point where court officials have been prompted to work with “the FBI and Homeland Security to devise the appropriate security measures” for Engoron and his chamber staff, including the clerk. 

There is no jury in Trump’s civil trial. This past September, Engoron issued a summary judgment in the suit, agreeing with James’ allegations that Trump and his company and officers did in fact commit business fraud during the decade in question.

The summary judgment resolved the key claim in James’ lawsuit, but the other claims remain, including the amount of damages that will be levied. The New York Attorney General is suing Trump and the other defendants for $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in his home state.

Judge Engoron has set January 11 for closing arguments in the trial.

PHOTO: Trump in court with attorney Alina Habba

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

 

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