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Donald Trump says he'll 'absolutely' testify in upcoming hush money criminal trial

Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump said he’ll have no issue taking the stand in his upcoming criminal trial centered on an illicit hush money payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels.

“I’m testifying,” he declared during a press briefing Friday night. “I tell the truth. All I can do is tell the truth, and the truth is there’s no case. They have no case.”

Trump is accused of falsifying business records in a bid to cover up and bury damaging stories he thought could hurt his prospects of winning the 2016 presidential election.

He’s facing 34 felony counts related to alleged payments doled out to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with the former president.

According to prosecutors, Trump’s then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer to pay McDougal $150,000 as part of a “catch-and-kill” scheme, a move that involves a publication shelling out for exclusive rights to a story with no intention of publishing it. He did the same with a doorman, who claimed to have a story about Trump having a child out of wedlock, prosecutors said.

Following Trump’s victory in 2016, prosecutors said the president then reimbursed Cohen through a series of checks from his trust that were processed through the Trump Organization.

Jury selection, which will likely take weeks, is set to begin in Lower Manhattan on Monday.

 

“Jury selection is largely luck,” the former president said. “It depends who you get. It’s very unfair that I’m having a trial there.”

Trump throughout the press conference on Friday repeatedly referred to the case as a “scam.” He also alleged he was the victim of a witch hunt and bemoaned the fact Judge Juan Merchan has declined to recuse himself from the case.

“It’s very unfair,” he told reporters. “We have this judge who hates Trump.”

Trump’s legal team has alleged there’s bias and a conflict of interest because Merchan’s daughter is a Democratic political consultant.

“The conflict is at a level no one has ever seen before,” he said Friday.

The former president, and presumed Republican nominee, could face jail time if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty in the case.


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