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Trump may not testify in Georgia trial

 September 13, 2023

Former President Donald Trump, facing four upcoming trials, may choose not to testify despite his initial assertions, according to new reports.

Trump previously expressed his eagerness to testify during his upcoming criminal trials. However, despite his resolve, leading defense lawyers suggest that he might ultimately choose to remain silent, as the Daily Mail reported.

Charges faced by former president

Recently, Trump confirmed to radio host Hugh Hewitt his intentions, stating:

Oh, yes, absolutely. That, I would do. I look forward to testifying. At trial, I’ll testify.

Trump is set to face four criminal trials in various states -- Georgia, Washington D.C., Florida, and New York.

These trials concern charges linked to alleged election interference, the events of Jan. 6, handling of classified documents, and hush money payments to adult entertainer Stormy Daniels.

Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz recently expressed his views on the situation, saying:

My prediction is he will not testify, I think his lawyers will talk him out of it.

Dershowitz's perspective

Dershowitz, having successfully defended Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2020, advised against the former president taking the stand.

He shared concerns about the cross-examination process, highlighting that Trump's credibility could be questioned based on his past statements. He said:

Not because of what he would say, but because of what he gets asked in cross-examination. They could go through everything he's ever said and challenge his credibility in that way.

Dershowitz clarified that the decision about whether to testify should be made strategically, only after gauging the strength and nature of the prosecution's case during the trial.

Florida trial appears most probable for testimony

Interestingly, Dershowitz pointed out that the trial concerning classified documents in Florida might be the one in which Trump could take the stand.

This case focuses on a more specific legal issue. Therefore, the judge might restrict the questions posed to Trump during the cross-examination. Dershowitz noted:

If it looks like the whole case is based on whether he declassified or not, he might be advised at that point to testify and say yes, I declassified, if he can back it up.

Having been a part of O.J. Simpson's defense team and involved in other high-profile cases, Dershowitz's insight is significant. Nonetheless, he acknowledged the unpredictability of such situations, saying:

You have to do it based on what the realities of the situation are at the time.

Insights from Tim Parlatore

Tim Parlatore, who had previously represented Trump in the Florida case, highlighted the general risk associated with any client taking the stand. He said:

With every client, not specifically this client, I always tell them it's extremely risky.

He emphasized that being cross-examined differs greatly from typical interviews, especially for individuals like Trump, who are known for their outspoken nature.

Georgia trial and the element of election fraud

In discussing the Georgia case, Parlatore shed light on the primary issue: Trump's belief that widespread election fraud occurred in 2020.

He argued that unless the prosecution presents a witness claiming Trump was aware of the absence of fraud, there's no reason for him to testify.

Parlatore also touched upon the influence of the political climate on the trials, indicating that while this could play a role in Trump's decision, it wouldn't significantly impact the trial lawyer's perspective.

Conclusion

  • Former President Donald Trump is set to face four trials.
  • Despite previously expressing his intent to testify, top defense lawyers predict he might remain silent.
  • Alan Dershowitz suggests that Trump's lawyers might advise against testifying, especially due to the risks of cross-examination.
  • Dershowitz sees the Florida trial as the most likely one in which Trump might testify.
  • Tim Parlatore points out the risks of taking the stand and elaborates on the Georgia trial's core issue concerning election fraud.
  • Political dynamics might influence Trump's decision to testify, but not the trial lawyer's recommendations.