Sat. May 18th, 2024

Will Trump testify in the hush money trial?

By 37ci3 May10,2024



Like prosecutors, it lies near their homes Criminal One of the biggest questions about the historic trial against Donald Trump is whether the former president will take the stand to defend himself.

Last month, before jury selection began, Trump insisted he would be on the witness stand at a Manhattan criminal trial in New York.

“I would testify, absolutelyhe said in response to a question from NBC News on April 12. “I’m testifying. I’m telling the truth. I mean, all I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is there is no case.”

A week later, after the trial began, he told reporters in the courthouse that he would testify “yes”.

Trump has since added caveats when asked the same question.

He told Newsmax two weeks ago that he would testify “if necessary,” and said in an interview Tuesday. Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin He added that he would “probably” take a stand and “want to.”

After taking the stand herself, adult film actress Stormi Daniels tried to encourage Trump to testify.

“Real men respond to testimony by swearing and taking the stand in court. Oh…wait. Nothing,” he wrote on X.

As a defendant in a criminal trial, Trump is not required to testify.

“The conventional wisdom among defense attorneys is that there is a lot of risk in having your client testify, and the risks often outweigh the benefits,” said Duncan Levin, a former Manhattan district attorney who is now a criminal defense attorney. But in this case, “the traditional rules could be thrown out of the window.”

“Nobody knows what he’s going to do, including his own lawyers,” Levin said of Trump. Although his attorneys likely advised him not to take the stand, Levin added, “He is an unsupervised client with a constitutional right to testify.”

State judge Juan Merchan presided over the case. He reminded Trump of this right In court last week, after Trump mistakenly told reporters that a gag order barring him from attacking witnesses and jurors meant “I’m not allowed to testify.”

Merchan told Trump: “If you decide to do so after consulting with your attorneys, you absolutely have the right to testify in court.

“This is an inviolable fundamental right,” he said. He said that the gag order only “applies to statements made outside the court. It does not apply to statements made from the witness stand.”

Arthur Aidala, a veteran New York attorney whose clients include Harvey Weinstein“My best success happens when my clients don’t take the stand,” he said, adding that a jury would no doubt want to hear from Trump.

“The human instinct is that people want to hear both sides. They want to see what he takes a stand and what he can say,” Aidala said.

Levin said there are matters on which Trump can testify that “would be helpful to his case,” including elements of the charges brought by the Manhattan DA. Trump is impeached falsifying business records related to the payment of his lawyer’s money at that time Michael Cohen for paying hush money to elderly movie actor Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Prosecutors allege that Trump tried to cover up an attempt to improperly influence the election. He pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

Trump said he “didn’t want it to be about the election” and was in the dark about the falsification of the records because he was busy with other things because he was president when he signed Cohen’s checks, Levin said.

Aidala agreed, saying Trump could tell the jury, “I don’t have time to pursue these matters anymore.” But Trump “will have to admit what he cannot deny,” including that he signed Cohen’s checks and knew what they were for.

Had he testified, Aidala said, Trump would likely face days of cross-examination by prosecutors who would “expose him as a liar,” which would affect any defendants.

Merchan has already ruled that prosecutors can question Trump about findings in recent civil cases alleging he violated gag orders and defamation and fraud charges against author E. Jean Carroll.

Levin said Trump’s testimony could be a “landmine” given the evidence against him so far. “It’s going to be almost impossible to disprove things,” he said, adding that “a lie in a courtroom is more serious than a lie on the campaign trail.”

“If the judge finds that he lied on the stand, that would be grounds for an increased sentence if Trump is convicted,” Levin said.

Asked if political considerations might compel Trump to take the stand to deny the allegations, Levin said he doesn’t think so, as Trump can deny it through the media and at campaign rallies.

“It’s better when he’s not under oath and being cross-examined,” Levin said.

In terms of advice on Trump’s position, Aidala said he would wait to see how Cohen’s testimony goes before making a recommendation. Cohen is expected to detail his private conversations with Trump, detailing the payment and compensation, but Trump’s team is expected to pursue Cohen’s credibility, including his admissions. he used to lie under oath.

“Ultimately, it’s Trump’s decision,” Aidala said.

Trump has testified in his two most recent civil trials — civil trials fraud case It was brought by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James defamation case Brought by Carroll.

In Carroll’s case, his testimony was severely limited by the trial judge’s decision; it only lasted a few minutes.

In the fraud case, Trump testified when called as a witness by James’ office and launched repeated attacks on him and the judge. Trump was also listed as a defense witness in the case, but he refused to testify the day before the night he was scheduled to take the stand.

“I’ve already testified to everything and I have nothing to say other than that this is a complete and utter election interference (Biden campaign!) witch hunt,” so “I’m not going to testify,” Trump said on his social media platform, Truth Social.

The judge in that case, Arthur Engoron, found Trump guilty of fraud and hit him and his company with a verdict that now exceeds $450 million. In his ruling, Engoron said Trump’s testimony did not help his case.

“In general, Donald Trump rarely answered questions, and he often made long, irrelevant speeches about matters that were outside the court’s purview. His refusal to answer questions directly, or in some cases at all, seriously undermined his credibility,” Engoron wrote.



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