Judge refutes Trump’s assertion that gag order prevents him from testifying

The judge overseeing the hush money case involving former President Trump clarified on Friday that Trump is permitted to testify during the trial. This correction comes in response to the former president’s claim the day before that a gag order prevented him from doing so.

During Friday’s proceedings, Judge Juan Merchan raised a crucial point regarding a potential misunderstanding surrounding the gag order and Trump’s ability to testify. He emphasized the importance of clarifying this matter.

Merchan emphasized to Mr. Trump that he had the complete freedom to testify during the trial. He also made it clear that Mr. Trump had the absolute right to choose not to testify.

According to Merchan, the gag order doesn’t stop him from testifying; it only restricts his ability to make statements outside of court.

During a press briefing, following the adjournment of Thursday’s proceedings, Trump was questioned about Keith Davidson’s testimony. The judge later commented on his response.

“I’m actually not allowed to testify,” he remarked, glancing over at his attorney, Todd Blanche, who gave a confirming nod. It seems I’m under a strict gag order.”

“I can’t testify because this judge has me under an unconstitutional gag order,” Trump stated. “It’s unfair and nobody has ever experienced this before.”

Former President Trump is prohibited from publicly discussing jurors and witnesses involved in the case, according to the imposed restrictions. Additionally, he is not allowed to target court personnel, line prosecutors, their families, or even the judge and district attorney’s families with the intention to significantly disrupt the proceedings. In response to multiple breaches of the gag order, Merchan imposed a $9,000 fine on Trump earlier this week.

Trump has expressed his willingness to testify at his own trial on multiple occasions. Most recently, on April 12, he reiterated this stance after meeting with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

“I would definitely testify,” Trump asserted confidently from his residence at Mar-a-Lago. “This whole thing is a sham. It’s nothing more than a fraudulent trial.”

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