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Trump Decides Not to Take Witness Stand in Hush Money Case as Testimony Ends

  • On his first trial, Donald Trump refuses to testify amid concerns that he might blow up his entire case. 

Former U.S. President Donald Trump decided not to testify in his own criminal hush money trial on Tuesday, leading his defense to a rapid conclusion and clearing the way for jurors to start deliberations next week.

Trump denied speculations for weeks about whether he would actually take the stand to defend himself against charges of falsifying business records to cover up one of his hush-money payments to adult movie star Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 presidential election.

If he had testified, he might have tried to personally convince a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates that his intention was to protect his family from embarrassment, not to bury a story about an alleged personal encounter that might have damaged his political prospects.

However, criminal defendants generally do not testify in their own trial, especially since it exposes them to probing questions from prosecutors.

Doing so, he would have been at risk of perjury, especially if he lied under oath. In defiant and rambling testimony in a civil fraud trial last year, Trump was reprimanded by the judge, having to pay $355 million in penalties. A very similar performance might have alienated the jurors. “He could easily tank his entire case with one outburst,” as retired NY judge George Crasso explained.

Former President Donald Trump, now 77, pleaded not guilty to 34 charges of falsifying business records. He also denied wrongdoing and said he has never been intimate with Daniels, who testified in detail about a 2006 liaison she had with Trump.

trump's criminal cases president
Photo by lev radin from Shutterstock

Prosecutors argue that the altered records cover-up election-law and tax-law violations, especially since the money was basically an unreported contribution to Trump’s campaign.

Outside the courtroom, Trump didn’t cease to criticize the judge who oversees the case as completely corrupt and even said that prosecutors were trying to undergo his efforts to win back the White House as a Republican from Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 election.

Trump’s legal team called two witnesses on his behalf. According to Justice Juan Merchan, the jurors will return next Tuesday, following the three-day Memorial Day weekend, to listen to all closing arguments, with deliberations likely to start the next day.

Trump’s lawyers asked Merchan to dismiss the case before going to the jury, arguing that it rests solely on the testimony of a witness, the estranged former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, who is well-known for being a felon.

If you found this article interesting, we also recommend checking out: 7 Interesting Facts About US Presidents After Leaving the White House

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