Donald Trump fails to testify in his own trial

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Donald Trump will not get to testify in the case that is all about him.

In New York on Tuesday, local time, the defence rested its case. The prosecution had already done so.

The move means no more witnesses will be called including Mr Trump. That despite him saying last month that he would “absolutely” testify in his own defence.

Mr Trump is accused of falsifying business records to cover up the payments of $200,000 ($US130,000) made to porn star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged extramarital sexual encounter which was in danger of becoming public knowledge in the run up to the 2016 US Presidential election.

The prosecution is attempting to persuade the jury that the payments were effectively electoral interference to bury information that may sway some voters.

Mr Trump, 77, has denied a sexual encounter took place and denied the charges.

He will now not have to explain what he knew – or didn’t know- about the alleged payments or why any payments were made.

On Monday, the defence questioned its last witness, lawyer and Trump ally Bob Costello who was chastised by Judge Juan Merchan who accused him of giving him side eye and generally disrespecting the court.

The defence has been using Mr Costello to try and discredit Mr Trump’s one time personal lawyer Michael Cohen who has alleged that he made payments to Ms Daniels on behalf his old boss.

The prosecution cross examined a better behaved Mr Costello on Tuesday at the Manhattan Criminal Court attempting to do the same, demolish his credibility in front of the jury.

Just after 10am (12 midnight Wednesday AEST) the defence announced it had rested bringing this part of trial to an end.

Yet just last month, Mr Trump was adamant he would stand.

“I’m testifying. I tell the truth, I mean, all I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is that there is no case,” he told reporters.

He then began to roll back that promise with a claim a gag order imposed by Judge Merchan, effectively forbade him from testifying.

That wasn’t the cases – the gag order only prevents Mr Trump attacking witness and court staff in the media outside the witness box.

But a number of legal experts has suggested the defence team were reluctant to call Mr Trump because they were concerned if he might cause more harm to his case than good.

Outside the courtroom, Mr Trump gave his now customary comments to the waiting media.

“I feel very good. I think we’ve had a great case we’ve put on,” he said.

The trial will resume next Thursday, following the Memorial Day public holiday, with closing arguments from the defence and prosecution.

If the jury finds Mr Trump guilty of falsifying business records in order to affect the election outcome, it could lead to a jail sentence.

If he is found guilty of falsifying business records for another reason, for instance to prevent embarrassment to his family, that would be considered a misdemeanour that would attract a lesser punishment.

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