Trump says he will ‘tell the truth’ and testify in hush money trial

Former President Donald Trump said he plans to testify in the New York hush money trial that begins Monday, and that he would “tell the truth,” while on the stand.

Trump told reporters on Friday night that he would testify in the trial, and maintained that prosecutors had no case against him over allegations that he doctored company documents related to a payment he made to his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen.

“I’m testifying. I tell the truth,” Trump said outside of his Mar–a-Lago resort in Florida. “I mean, all I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is that there’s no case. They have no case.”

Although Trump said he would testify in the hush money case, he has tried to get out of testifying in legal cases in the past. Trump had said he would testify in his civil fraud case, but pulled his testimony in a civil trial the day before he had been scheduled to appear. He was later called to the stand by the prosecution, which led to the judge questioning his credibility after Trump tried to avoid answering questions directly.

Critics warn that testifying in a criminal case is even riskier, and the actual decision to testify will probably come later. Sources familiar with Trump’s thinking expect Trump to make a decision on testifying after seeing how strong the prosecution’s case actually is, according to the New York Times.

Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, to hide an alleged hush money payment that would go to former porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in order to keep her quiet about an alleged affair the pair had years before. Trump has denied the affair and pleaded “not guilty” to all counts.

The case, which begins jury selection on April 15, is the first-ever criminal trial of a former United States president and is just one of four criminal trials against Trump slated for this year. 

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The comments come as Trump attempts to delay the trial on the appellate level. Judge Juan Merchan has dismissed Trump’s attempts to delay the case through his court, with the latest rejection occurring Friday when Trump’s attorneys claimed press coverage of the case would affect the fairness of the trial, and could influence jurors.

“[Trump] appears to take the position that his situation and this case are unique and that the pre-trial publicity will never subside,” Merchan wrote in the ruling. “However, this view does not align with reality.”

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