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Why won’t Donald Trump testify in his civil fraud trial in New York on Monday?

Donald Trump was set to testify for a second time on Monday in the civil fraud case brought against him in New York but backed out at the last minute.

Trump does about-face, won’t testify in New York civil fraud case

Donald Trump’s legal team was expected to finish up their defense this week of the former president and codefendants in the civil fraud trial brought by New York State. Part of that defense was to put Trump on the witness stand once again on Monday as their final witness.

However, in a last-minute about-face he said on Sunday that he would not take the stand again, having “already testified to everything” and that he has “nothing more to say” other than to call the trail “complete & total election interference” and a “witch hunt”.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking a $250 million fine alleging that the Trump Organization fraudulently inflated the value of assets and properties. The judge overseeing the case, Arthur Engoron, had already ruled before the trial began that Trump and his codefendants were liable for “persistent and repeated” fraud. He will now determine how much must be paid in damages and whether the defendants will be allowed to operated businesses in the state.

Why won’t Donald Trump testify in his civil fraud trial in New York on Monday?

Trump announced via his Truth Social platform: “I have already testified to everything & have nothing more to say other than this is a complete & total election interference (Biden campaign!) witch hunt.”

“I will not be testifying on Monday,” Trump added.

The defendant was under no obligation to testify again. Trump had previously took the stand 6 November in a turbulent four-hour testimony in which he refused to answer questions posed by the prosecutor clearly and concisely. During his testimony he attacked AG James, the judge and the trial itself calling it “a political witch hunt.”

This time the questioning would have been friendlier with the questions being posed by his own attorneys giving him a chance to bolster his defense. However, Trump’s attorney Chris Kise defended his client’s decision saying in a statement that “President Trump has already testified.”

“There is really nothing more to say to a Judge who has imposed an unconstitutional gag order and thus far appears to have ignored President Trump’s testimony and that of everyone else involved in the complex financial transactions at issue in the case,” added Kise.

Trump defense concluded, prosecution will call rebuttal witnesses

The trial is set to resume on Tuesday when the prosecution is expected to finish cross-examination of defense witness Eli Bartov, an accounting professor at New York University, who testified on Thursday and Friday last week. Following that, AG Jame’s office is expected to call two more rebuttal witnesses.

Closing arguments are scheduled to be heard on 11 January, with a ruling coming a few weeks later according to Judge Engoron. Trump has already appealed the pre-trial ruling against him and his business.