Trump is unlikely to testify in his hush-money trial as he could risk committing perjury, reports say

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  • Trump is unlikely to testify in his Manhattan hush-money trial, sources told The Washington Post.

  • New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said the presentation of evidence could end Monday.

  • Experts believe Trump would not benefit from testifying and would likely open himself up to perjury.

Donald Trump is unlikely to testify in his hush-money trial in Manhattan, despite previously saying he would, sources familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Four unnamed people close to the former president told the paper that they were not expecting him to take the witness stand next week. The jury is, therefore, expected to begin deliberations later in the week after the defense calls on a small number of witnesses.

John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, told The Telegraph that the former president would be "mad" to take the stand, saying "he would open himself to a perjury indictment, even if he won in this case."

"An early question on cross [examination] if Trump testified would be whether he ever had sex with Stormy Daniels," he added.

New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, the judge overseeing the case, said on Thursday that the presentation of evidence could be wrapped up on Monday, per The Post.

Lawyers often advise defendants not to testify in their own defense.

"In almost every case, the risk of what could come out on cross-examination outweighs any benefit that could be gained from hearing directly from the defendant," according to the criminal defense firm Elmen Legal.

Despite this, Trump has previously insisted that he would "absolutely" testify in the trial.

"I'm testifying. I tell the truth. All I can do is tell the truth and the truth is they have no case," he said at a press conference in April.

On Friday, a centrist Washington DC-based think tank, Third Way, released an ad dubbed "Coward," daring Trump to take the stand.

"Donald Trump would never plead the Fifth Amendment," the narrator says in the ad.

The former president is then heard saying, "The mob takes the Fifth. If you are innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?

"Now he's on trial for hiding hush money payments to a porn star, but he won't take the stand," the narrator adds. "Donald, why won't you testify? After all, you believe only guilty cowards take the fifth."

But Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor, told The Post that Trump had "little to gain" by testifying, especially given that the defense has attempted to undermine the prosecution's case by poking holes in the credibility of Michael Cohen, Trump's former "fixer."

Trump's lawyer Todd Blanche sought to characterize Cohen as a liar when he questioned him earlier this week.

Nevertheless, Trump has a legal right to defend himself, Coffee told The Telegraph, and either way, Blanche "would have to respect his decision," he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider