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Trump indicates he’d testify in hush money trial, says a conviction could ‘make me more popular’

trump-indicates-he’d-testify-in-hush-money-trial,-says-a-conviction-could-‘make-me-more-popular’

Trump indicates he’d testify in hush money trial, says a conviction could ‘make me more popular’

Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump indicated to ABC News on Monday that he would testify at his upcoming criminal trial in New York over a hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

“I would have no problem testifying,” he said when ABC News asked at a press conference, following his court appearance in the case, whether he would testify. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I don’t know how you can have a trial in the middle of a presidential election,” Trump said, repeating unsubstantiated claims that the legal battles he faces are a part of a political persecution by his opponents.

The judge overseeing the case, Juan Merchan, ruled Monday that the trial will begin on April 15, rejecting Trump’s request for an additional delay.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment his then-attorney Michael Cohen made to Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election. The former president has denied all wrongdoing.

The case, which was initially scheduled to begin jury selection on Monday, was adjourned for 30 days by Merchan earlier this month, after defense attorneys raised issues with the late production of over 100,000 pages of potential evidence by federal prosecutors.

Asked by ABC News at the press conference if a conviction could hurt his chances for reelection, Trump said, “It could also make me more popular.”

Separately, New York’s appellate court also ruled on Monday to lower Trump’s bond from $464 million to $175 million in a separate civil fraud case in which he was found to have inflated the value of his properties to get better loan terms.

If Trump testifies in the hush money case, it would be the third court testimony in this election cycle for Trump, who faces 88 charges across four criminal cases. He has denied all wrongdoing. Earlier this year, the former president took the stand in a New York defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, in which he was ordered to pay $83 million for defaming her.

Speaking to reporters Monday, Trump appeared uncertain about whether he would be spending his own money to support his campaign, after saying for days that he was planning to use his own money where he not thwarted by the $464 million judgment in his fraud case.

“Well, first of all, it’s none of your business,” Trump quipped when asked if he now plans to use his money to finance his campaign now that the bond amount has been lowered to $175 million. “I might do that. I have the option. But if I have to spend $500 million on the bond, I wouldn’t have that option. I’d have to start selling things.”

Trump said the original $464 million bond allowed him to “spend very little money on my campaign.”

“If I so choose, I’ll be spending money on my campaign,” Trump said. “I might spend a lot of money on my campaign. But I should have that option.”

Trump dismissed the idea of borrowing money from foreign entities to secure the $175 million bond.

“No, I don’t do that. I think you’d be allowed to, possibly. I don’t know,” Trump said. “The biggest banks frankly, are outside of our country. So you could do that but, I don’t need to borrow money. I have a lot of money.”

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