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Judge sets Trump fraud trial for Oct. 2023, in middle of campaign

Then U.S. President Donald Trump surveyed storm damage and met with residents along with Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. (Shealah Craighead/White House via ZUMA Wire/TNS)
November 23, 2022

A judge has scheduled a New York fraud lawsuit against Former President Donald Trump to begin in October of next year, when he will likely be deep into his third presidential campaign. Trump may testify during the trial.

The trial for New York Attorney General Letitia James’ fraud suit against Trump and three of his adult children has been scheduled for October 2023, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, told the judge her “clients will be here, all of them.”

Habba’s firm is representing Trump himself and the Trump Organization in the suit.

Insider initially reported Trump would personally testify in the case, but Habba later told the publication, “I do not know at this point.”

Trump announced his third campaign for the presidency last week. If the trial proceeds as planned, it will begin around the time other Republican 2024 presidential candidates could start ramping up their own campaigns. During the same point in the 2016 campaign cycle, the Republican Party had already held two primary debates.

Trump has avoided previous high-profile opportunities to testify on his own behalf since his presidency. Sources for Voice of America said Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 400 times while being deposed by James.

Trump never testified in either of his impeachment trials during his presidency but did publicly entertain the idea of testifying during his first impeachment trial. Trump also avoided a direct interview and only provided written responses to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Last month, the House Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol issued a subpoena for Trump’s testimony by Nov. 14. In October, Trump said he “loves the idea” of testifying for the committee, but filed a lawsuit in November to challenge the subpoena.

Trump did give taped testimony in a case that was settled earlier this month before his testimony could be played at trial, Insider reported.

James’ case, which is now set to go to trial in October of 2023, centers on allegations that the Trump Organization falsely inflated assets on 10 years of financial statements, raising Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars. James is seeking to permanently ban Trump and three of his children from operating businesses in the state.

This article was originally titled “Trump to testify under oath in middle of 2024 campaign” and cited reporting from Insider that Trump would personally testify during the trial. Trump’s attorney has since said “I do not know” if Trump will testify. The article’s headline has been updated and article has been changed to reflect the new statement’s by Trump’s lawyer.