Trump hints at hush money trial testimony, saying conviction could 'make me more popular'

 March 27, 2024

On Monday, former President Donald Trump told ABC News he would testify at his New York criminal trial over a hush payment to Stormy Daniels.

"I would have no problem testifying," he said when ABC News asked at a press conference following his court appearance in the case, whether he would testify. "I didn't do anything wrong."

"I don't know how you can have a trial in the middle of a presidential election," Trump said, repeating unsubstantiated claims that the legal battles he faces are part of a political persecution by his opponents.

Recent Judge's Ruling

Monday, Juan Merchan, the presiding judge in the case, rendered a decision that the trial will commence on April 15, thereby declining Trump's appeal for an additional postponement.

In April of last year, Trump entered a not-guilty plea to a 34-count indictment that accused him of fabricating business documents in relation to a hush money payment made to Daniels by his then-attorney Michael Cohen days before the 2016 presidential election. The ex-president has adamantly refuted any wrongdoing.

Merchan adjourned for thirty days earlier this month the case, which was originally slated to commence jury selection on Monday. This postponement was prompted by objections raised by defense attorneys regarding the delayed submission of more than one hundred thousand pages of potential evidence by federal prosecutors.

When asked at the press conference by ABC News whether a conviction could harm his reelection chances, Trump responded, "It could also make me more popular. "

New York Decision

Concurrently, on Monday, the appellate court of New York reduced the security of Donald Trump from $464 million to $175 million in a distinct civil fraud case. The court had previously determined that Trump had falsified property values in order to secure more favorable loan terms.

Should Trump choose to provide testimony in the hush money case, it would mark his third court appearance during this election cycle. In total, Trump is accused of 88 offenses across four criminal cases. He has categorically denied any malfeasance.

The former president testified in a New York defamation lawsuit initiated by author E. Jean Carroll earlier this year. In that case, he was ordered to pay Carroll $83 million for defaming her.

Trump's Defense Funding

Trump appeared uncertain on Monday as to whether he would be using his personal funds to support his campaign, despite having stated for days that he intended to do so if the $464 million judgment in his fraud case had not prevented him.

"Well, first of all, it's none of your business," Trump quipped when asked if he now plans to use his money to finance his campaign now that the bond amount has been lowered to $175 million.

"I might do that. I have the option. But if I have to spend $500 million on the bond, I wouldn't have that option. I'd have to start selling things."

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Thomas Jefferson
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