Trump’s shocking move

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.11 - 2023 1:50 PM CET

Declines to restify in New York fraud trial

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In a surprising turn of events, former President Donald Trump has decided not to testify in the ongoing civil fraud trial in New York against him and his company, reversing an earlier decision to take the stand.

This $250 million trial has been a significant legal challenge for Trump, as it alleges overvaluation of properties and misuse of financial statements for loans.

Initially scheduled to testify as a defense witness in the final week of the two-month-long trial, Trump announced his decision not to testify via his social media platform, Truth Social.

He cited his previous testimony and called the trial an “election interference witch hunt.” This decision came as the trial was set to resume after a brief hiatus.

The Context of the Trial

The case, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, accuses Trump of inflating the value of his properties and net worth in financial statements to secure favorable loans from banks.

In a previous session, Trump had been combative, attacking both the Attorney General and the presiding Judge Arthur Engoron, calling James a “political hack” and accusing Engoron of bias.

Trump’s decision not to testify could have significant implications, both legally and politically. His legal team, led by attorney Chris Kise, argued that previous defense witnesses have already demonstrated the absence of fraud, defaults, or victims. Trump’s son, Eric Trump, also backed out of testifying, following his father’s directive.

Expert Testimony in Trump’s Defense

Eli Bartov, an accounting expert and professor at New York University, testified in defense of Trump, stating that there was no evidence of accounting fraud in the financial statements.

Bartov’s testimony was crucial for the defense, as he claimed the financial statements were not materially misstated and that discrepancies in valuations are subjective.

The trial, which commenced on October 2, is expected to conclude soon. With Trump and his son opting out of testifying, the defense’s case rests on the testimonies and evidence presented so far.

The Attorney General’s office is slated to call two rebuttal witnesses post Bartov’s cross-examination. Final arguments are scheduled for January 11, after which Judge Engoron will deliberate and issue his ruling.

This development in the trial represents a strategic move by Trump and his legal team. It reflects the complexities of high-profile legal battles where every decision can significantly impact the case's outcome.

The verdict of this trial is eagerly awaited, as it will have lasting implications on Trump’s business empire and potentially his political future.