Trump insists he will testify during NY criminal trial while others express disbelief he will take the stand

 April 16, 2024

Former President Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York began on Monday, and one of the biggest unanswered questions of the legal proceeding is whether or not he will ultimately take the stand to testify in his own defense.

Trump said on Friday that he fully intended to testify during the trial, but his former personal attorney Michael Cohen, a central figure and star witness for the prosecution in the dubious case, insisted on Saturday that Trump testifying was "not gonna happen," according to The Hill.

The former president faces 34 felony counts of falsification of business records that stem from monthly payments to then-ally Cohen in 2017 to reimburse him for the "hush money" payments he made to silence certain Trump accusers ahead of the 2016 election.

Trump insists he will testify during trial

The New York Post reported that former President Trump made it abundantly clear on Friday that he plans to testify in his own defense during the New York criminal trial, though it is unclear when that might occur.

"I'm testifying. I tell the truth. All I can do is tell the truth," Trump told reporters during a press conference at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. "And the truth is that there’s no case. They have no case."

The former president also slammed the presiding judge for not "recusing themself" amid accusations of apparent partisan bias and decried the trial as a "scam" that was part of the broader years-long "witch hunt" against him that has currently taken the form of "election interference by the Biden administration."

Cohen doesn't believe Trump will actually testify

The Hill reported that Cohen, during a Saturday morning appearance on MSNBC, expressed his disbelief at the vow that his former boss would testify, though he suggested that he'd like to see it happen.

"The likelihood of Donald Trump being on the stand is equal to the likelihood of me waking up tomorrow 7’6″ and playing center for the New York Knicks -- it’s not gonna happen," Cohen said.

He went on to assert that Trump was "not a good defendant" nor a "good witness" during previous civil trials, and stated, "He’s not going to take the stick. In fact, I hope that I’m wrong. Because I think that would be absolutely classic for America to be able to see Donald Trump on the witness stand trying to defend himself in a case that’s indefensible."

Trump will campaign on weekends and through the media on trial days

The Post reported that former President Trump's New York trial is expected to last as long as six to eight weeks, and he has been ordered by the judge to be personally in attendance whenever court is in session, with no exceptions.

That would seemingly impose significant constraints on the ability of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to campaign for re-election -- some would say by design -- but a report from Politico revealed that the Trump campaign has formulated plans to make the best out of the bad situation.

Trump will undoubtedly exploit every opportunity to address the nation and make his case through the media during breaks in the trial as well as with virtual and in-person events in the New York area on days when the court is in session.

He also intends to take "full advantage" of the trial being adjourned on Wednesdays and weekends to engage in campaign events and rallies across the country, with his private jet reportedly being kept on standby at a nearby airport to accommodate the rapid turnaround such plans would necessarily entail.

"Crooked Joe Biden and the Democrats’ failing election interference strategy is to try and keep President Trump away from campaigning by confining him to a courtroom," Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt told Politico, and added, "President Trump will continue to fight for truth in the courtroom and to share his winning message on the campaign trail."

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