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Trump: Trump abandons plan to testify in New York fraud trial

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In a surprising turn of events, former President Donald Trump has decided not to testify for a second time in his New York civil fraud trial, a move that marks a shift from his earlier insistence on returning to the witness stand. Trump, the leading contender for the 2024 Republican nomination, made the announcement on his Truth Social platform just a day before his scheduled appearance, stating that he had already testified “very successfully & conclusively” last month and had “nothing more to say.”
The civil fraud trial, initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleges that Trumpand his company misrepresented the value of their properties to secure favorable financing.The trial has been ongoing since October and is one of several legal challenges facing the former president as he eyes a comeback bid for theWhite House.
Despite Trump’s decision not to testify, the trial has been marked by intense scrutiny and contentious moments. In November, during his initial testimony that lasted four hours, Trump clashed with prosecutors, earning rebukes from Judge Arthur Engoron, who cautioned against treating the courtroom like a political rally. The prosecution contends that Trump and other defendants inflated the value of real estate assets to obtain more favorable bank loans and insurance terms.
Judge Engoron, prior to opening arguments, had ruled that James’s office presented “conclusive evidence” of Trump overstating his net worth on financial documents by billions of dollars between 2014 and 2021. Consequently, the judge ordered the liquidation of companies managing the assets, including the iconic Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street skyscrapers, a decision currently under appeal.
The trial, set to continue without Trump’s testimony, involves various charges, including insurance fraud, with the Attorney General’s office seeking a financial penalty of $250 million. Unlike some of Trump’s other legal battles, this civil suit does not carry the risk of jail time.
Trump’s legal team has vigorously defended him, arguing that banks conducted proper due diligence and were not financially harmed by the alleged overstatements. However, the trial has faced challenges, including fines for Trump violating a partial gag order and clashes between the former president and Judge Engoron.
The conclusion of the trial is expected in January, just before the Iowa caucuses kick off the 2024 presidential primary season. Despite the legal challenges, Trump maintains a commanding lead for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the upcoming election.
(with inputs from agencies)



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