Trump says he won’t testify in New York civil fraud trial as planned

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Trump says he won't testify in New York civil fraud trial as planned: NPR

Former President Donald Trump sits in court with his lawyers Joe Tacopina and Boris Epshteyn (right) during his arraignment at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 4 in New York City. Andrew Kelly/Pool/Getty Images hide caption

Trump Says He Won'T Testify In New York Civil Fraud Trial As Planned

Former President Donald Trump sits in court with his lawyers Joe Tacopina and Boris Epshteyn (right) during his arraignment at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 4 in New York City.

Former President Donald Trump has said he will not testify as planned in a civil trial over allegations he lied about his wealth.

“I have confirmed everything and have nothing more to say,” Trump wrote on his social media site Truth Social on Sunday.

Trump took the stand last month, but is scheduled to testify for the defense on Monday.

In a statement, New York Attorney General Letitia James said that even if Trump testifies again, “we have already proven that he committed years of financial fraud and unjustly enriched himself.”

In announcing his decision not to appear, Trump insulted the New York attorney general and called the judge presiding over the case, Judge Arthur Engoron, “biased.”

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Trump, now the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, repeated his false claims that the 2020 election was rigged, specifically accusing President Biden’s campaign of “meddling in the election,” and calling the case against him which is a witch hunt. In fact, Trump himself is separately facing federal charges of election interference.

About what the case is

Trump and his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are accused of willfully committing fraud by submitting financial statements that inflated the value of their properties and other assets. New York Judge Arthur Engoron has determined that there was fraud and that the former president, his children and other executives are liable.

James, who is suing Trump after a three-year investigation, is seeking $250 million in damages and seeks to prevent Trump from doing future business in New York.

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Closing arguments and a final decision from Engoron on any sanctions are not expected until the new year.

Who has testified so far

Trump is set to be the final witness for the defense team after a slew of accountants and other expert witnesses.

Witnesses on the attorney general’s team include former allies Michael Cohen and Allen Weisselberg.

Cohen confirmed that it was his responsibility, along with former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Weisselberg, “to reverse engineer very different asset classes, increasing assets to achieve the numbers” that Trump requested. .

Weisselberg, however, testified that he could not recall whether he discussed the financial statements with Trump as they were being finalized.

Testimony from Trump’s sons – Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka – placed the blame for the fraudulent financial documents on others, such as the accounting firm employed by the Trump Organization.

There is a gag order in place

A gag order placed on all parties, including the former president, is back in place after it was temporarily lifted earlier this month.

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The gag order prohibits any party from trying to comment on Engoron’s staff.

According to court filings, Engoron’s legal clerk received numerous calls on his cell phone, as well as messages on social media and emails. Engoron said his chambers received hundreds of threatening calls, letters and packages.

Trump has been fined twice, totaling $15,000, for violating the order. Any testimony from the former president could have retried the order.

What Trump said on the stand before

Testifying in November, Trump argued that the estimated property values ​​were actually conservative, and he said he relied on others to compile the statements.

Trump also alleged that the attorney general was politically motivated in pursuing the case, and Trump made jabs aimed at Engoron, including saying the judge “always rules against” him.

This prompted a frustrated Engoron to call on Trump’s legal team to “control” their client.