Trump Claims He’ll Testify in Stormy Daniels Hush Money Case

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As the curtain rises on Donald Trump’s hush money trial, set to begin Monday, the former president says that he plans to testify in his own defense. Trump denies having a sexual encounter with adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2006, as well as the allegation that he later falsified business records while trying to buy her silence for $130,000 ahead of the 2016 election.

Trump took questions on Friday at Mar-a-Lago, from outlets including The New York Times and Politico. He called the trial a “witch hunt” that’s “very bad for the judicial system in New York.” He also claimed that he will speak on his own behalf—a promise he’s made and reneged on before. As the Times notes, testifying during a criminal trial could be an even more dangerous move.

Nevertheless, he persisted.

“I’m testifying,” Trump told reporters Friday. “I tell the truth. All I can do is tell the truth, and the truth is that there is no case. They have no case.”

Trump faces a maximum of four years in prison for 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, according to The Guardian. When reached by the Times, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment on the former president’s statements to reporters.

Trump’s attorneys have tried and failed three times to delay his prosecution. He has also attacked Judge Juan Merchan multiple times, often citing the judge’s daughter’s political consulting work with Democratic candidates as proof that he is compromised in this case. On Monday, Trump sued Merchan over a gag order that barred him from denigrating witnesses in the case, as well as the judge’s family, prosecutors, and court staff.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, Trump once again took the opportunity to complain.

“It’s very unfair that we have this judge who hates Trump and has tremendous conflict, as you know,” he said. “Nobody can believe that this judge isn’t recusing himself. The conflict is at a level that nobody’s ever seen before.”

This marks the first criminal trial ever brought against a former U.S. president. As made obvious by his comments, Trump has pleaded not guilty.

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