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Trump Says He Plans To Testify In New York Trial, Calls Jury Selection “Largely Luck”

Former President Donald Trump said Friday that he was “absolutely” planning on taking the stand in his upcoming trial in New York, where he currently faces 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records related to his $130,000 “hush money” payment to former adult film star Stormy Daniels before his 2016 election.

“I’m testifying. I tell the truth,” Trump said in response to a question from a reporter during a press conference at his Mar-a-Lago estate. “I mean, all I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is that there’s no case. They have no case.”

Reprising lines he has used about his sprawling criminal cases throughout the campaign season, Trump called the prosecution against him a “scam” and a “witch hunt” and claimed it was evidence that the U.S. has become a “third-world country.”

The trial is set to last six weeks, and Trump will be required to be in court every day it’s in session, which will generally be every weekday save Wednesdays.

Of course, like any promise Trump makes, his vow to testify ought to be taken with a grain of salt, as he has a history of making and then reneging on similar promises. In his civil trial in New York on business fraud charges, Trump abruptly decided not to take the witness just one day before he was supposed to. The former president was ultimately hit with a $354 million penalty in that case.

Sources familiar with Trump’s thinking told The New York Times that the former president will likely wait to decide whether to testify until he sees if Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg presents a compelling case. Another important factor will be whether prosecutors’ cross-examination efforts are restricted by the judge overseeing the case.

Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who coordinated payment to Daniels and will likely be a central witness in the trial, told NBC on Saturday that he felt the odds of Trump actually testifying were low. “The likelihood of Donald Trump being on the stand is equal to the likelihood of me waking up tomorrow and being 7-foot-6 and playing center for the New York Knicks,” Cohen said. “It’s not going to happen.”

Trump’s Friday comments came as Juan Merchan, the New York County Supreme Court Judge presiding over the case, slapped down yet another request from the former president to delay the trial start date. The ruling was at least the fourth case last week in which an effort by Trump’s legal team to postpone the trial fell flat.

The case is moving forward as scheduled, with jury selection slated to begin on Monday. In his Friday remarks, Trump said that jury selection in the case is “largely luck,” adding: “It depends on who you get.”

Originally Published Here.

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