OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump has announced a decision on whether he plans to testify on his own behalf in the $250 million civil fraud trial filed against him by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Newsmax has reported that Trump said he will testify “at the appropriate time.” He is on the witness lists for himself and for the AG’s team.
“Yes, I will” testify at the trial, Trump told reporters in remarks during the lunch break on day two of the trial Tuesday. “At the appropriate time, I will be,” he added.
“I think it’s going very well,” he continued after being asked to assess the trial thus far.
“There was absolutely no fraud,” Trump said, going on to criticize James as having filed a corrupt and politically motivated case. “They all made money. They’re all happy, 100% happy.”
Trump also reiterated his previous statement regarding the fact that his accountants always added a disclaimer of “buyer beware” at the end of his financial statements.
“It says, ‘Please, you must understand that you have to do your own due diligence and you have to, above all, do your own research and analysis: Do not rely on anything; do not rely on the financial statements,’” Trump added. “Also, the financial statements are very strong in terms of cash liquidity and everything else.
“This case is a scam. There can’t be fraud when you’ve told institutions to do their own work. This case is a fraud and scam,” he added.
Meanwhile, the judge overseeing the case, Arthur Engoron, has been particularly hostile to the former president and his legal team.
On Friday, Engoron threatened to jail Trump and impose heavy fines on him for “blatantly” violating a gag order by refusing to remove a website post that attacked court staff.
“In the current overheated climate, incendiary comments can, and in some cases already have, led to serious physical harm and worse. I will now allow the defendants to explain why this blatant violation of the gag order would not result in serious sanctions, including financial sanctions and/or possibly imprisoning him,” Engoron said.
The fraud trial that Engoron is presiding over is a civil matter, meaning that Trump will not face imprisonment but rather fines and the possible destruction of his real estate empire.
The judge then threatened Trump by saying he could spend time behind bars if he did not comply, the Daily Beast reported.
Christopher Kise, Trump’s defense attorney, quickly issued an apology, attributing the incident to a simple oversight on the part of Trump’s massive “campaign machinery” in failing to delete a webpage that replicated the Truth Social post that Trump had already deleted.
“There was no intention to evade or circumvent or ignore the order. I assure you that. I just know that this is a very large machine and this is one of the reasons, frankly, I don’t have social media,” Kise said, trying to deflect with some light humor.
“But that’s been taken down. And we don’t have any other… there were no subsequent postings,” Kise added.
“I will take that under advisement, but… Donald Trump is still responsible for the large machine,” Engoron reminded him.
This formal reprimand follows the judge’s repeated warnings to the unhinged real estate mogul not to repeat his tactics of intimidating witnesses and defaming judges and prosecutors in New York state court.
To remind Trump’s lawyers of the trouble they’re in, Engoron took the time on Friday morning to review what had happened so far, bringing up the “untrue disparaging and personally-identifying post about my principal law clerk.”
In addition, he told the press about what went down in his courtroom when the press was not present, reports said.