Former US President Donald Trump changed his mind about testifying in his defense in his New York fraud case on Monday, announcing that he did not take the stand as expected because he has already testified to everything.
“I have already testified to everything and have nothing more to say,” Trump wrote in an all-capital-letters, multipart statement on his Truth Social platform less than 20 hours before the trial, that he described as “corrupt.”
Trump’s lawyers were scheduled to present their final defense on Monday. The trial began last October.
The former president is accused of exaggerating the value of his real estate assets by billions of dollars to obtain more favorable bank loans and insurance terms.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed the lawsuit, showed that Trump had overstated his net worth on financial documents by millions of dollars.
Why Trump Cancelled his Testimony
Trump’s surprise decision not to attend the trial on Monday came as an “unusual and sudden turnaround.” For the past two months, he has been keen to attend the trial where he criticized the judge and court staff, describing the case as politically motivated to threaten his business empire.
Trump’s attorneys had recommended the former President not testify in the trial. They have expressed concerns about Trump testifying again, especially with the prospect of him criticizing the judge and going off script.
At one point during his previous testimony, Judge Arthur Engoron told Trump’s lawyer, Christopher Kise, to “control your client.”
Judges have already fined Trump two times after he appeared to violate a gag order barring the former US president from speaking publicly about court staff during his civil fraud trial.
Engoron, the judge overseeing the trial, has already ruled that Trump and his adult sons manipulated financial statements to dupe banks and insurers into providing better loan and insurance terms.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $250 million in damages and a permanent ban on Trump and his sons Donald Jr. and Eric running businesses in New York.
Trump Ahead of All his Competitors
Trump faces four unrelated federal and state criminal indictments, including two stemming from his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Still, neither the civil proceedings, nor the former president’s criminal cases, have hurt him politically so far.
A new national Wall Street Journal poll found Trump at 59% among potential Republican primary voters nationally, with Haley and DeSantis effectively tied for a distant second place, at 15% and 14% respectively.
Also, the latest NBC News, Des Moines Register and Mediacom poll finds a whopping 73% of likely Republican party members believing Trump can win a general election against President Joe Biden despite the legal challenges Trump is facing — up from 65% who said this in October.