Donald Trump Won’t Testify In New York Criminal Hush Money Trial

Former President Donald Trump’s defense team rested its case Tuesday without him taking the stand to defend himself against allegations that he illegally covered up a hush money payment to the porn actor Stormy Daniels to influence the 2016 presidential election.

For weeks, Trump had hinted that he would testify, having testified in his civil fraud trial late last year. Over the past few days, though, his lawyers had signaled he was unlikely to do so.

The defense rested its case Tuesday morning after only calling two witnesses, one of whom was Robert Costello, an attorney with ties to Rudy Giuliani. Judge Juan Merchan reprimanded Costello for his behavior during Monday’s trial.

Following the conclusion of the proceeding, Trump left the courtroom and raised his fist, ignoring shouted questions from reporters about what prompted his decision not to take the stand.

Alina Habba, a Trump lawyer who was not part of the team representing him in the hush money trial, told Fox News on Monday that the former president wanted to testify.

“Well, he’s got to listen to his attorneys,” she said. “It’s not as much what he wants to do. We know he wants to testify. He’s willing, he is able, he [has] nothing to hide it all.”

Judge Juan Merchan said closing arguments in the case will take place next week, on May 28.

The former president is battling 34 felony charges corresponding to reimbursement checks that were paid to his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for covering the $130,000 lump sum to porn actor Stormy Daniels in October 2016 — days before that year’s presidential election.

Trump has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty.