Updated Dec 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump will no longer testify in his own defense in N.Y. civil fraud case

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the New York Young Republican Club Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on December 09, 2023 in New York City

Former President Trump speaks at the New York Young Republican Club Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on Dec. 9 in New York City. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Former President Trump is no longer planning to testify in his ongoing New York civil fraud trial on Monday, he said in a Truth Social post on Sunday.

Why it matters: Trump, who took the stand in November, was expected to testify Monday as the final and star witness in his own defense in the case.

  • The $250 million case — which is in its final stages — is putting his net worth on trial and threatening to block him from doing business in his native state.

Driving the news: "I have already testified to everything & have nothing more to say other than that this is a complete & total election interference (Biden campaign!) witch hunt," he wrote in an all-caps post on Truth Social.

  • "I will not be testifying on Monday," he wrote in the multi-part post.

The big picture: Trump, who is currently fighting four criminal cases, voluntarily attended court proceedings multiple times throughout the trial, which started in October.

  • Trump frequently lambasted New York Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing the trial and New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed the suit against him, his adult children and his business last year.
  • Trump, who lost a bid for a mistrial in the case, voluntarily showed up at the Manhattan courthouse last week as a spectator, when he derided the case as a "witch hunt" and slammed it as a "very corrupt trial."
  • Just before the civil trial started, Engoron found that Trump had committed fraud by exaggerating his net worth on financial records.

What they're saying: James responded to Trump's announcement in a post to X, which noted he had already testified in the case.

  • "Whether or not he testifies again tomorrow, we have already proven that he committed years of financial fraud and unjustly enriched himself. No matter how much he tries to distract from reality, the facts don't lie."

Zoom in: During his first testimony in November, which lasted nearly four hours, Trump clashed with Engoron and acknowledged having some input on the financial statements at the center of the lawsuit.

  • Trump was also called briefly to the stand earlier in the trial to answer questions about a possible violation of his gag order, but he was not asked about the fraud charges.

Three of Trump's children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, have all testified on their involvement in preparing financial statements for the family business.

  • Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are both named as defendants in the lawsuit, while Ivanka has been dismissed.

Between the lines: Trump is under a limited gag order in the case, which Engoron imposed after the former president made a post on his Truth Social account about the judge's principle law clerk.

  • He has been fined twice, totaling $15,000, for alleged violations of the gag order.

What's next: This week is expected to be the final week of testimony.

  • After the testimonies conclude, the trial is scheduled to go on break until early January, after which closing arguments will be made and the case will be in the judge's hands to issue a final ruling.

Go deeper: Trump's unusual New York campout

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

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