Trump said he “absolutely” planned to testify in his hush money trial. So what changed?

Donald Trump’s opportunity to testify in his historic hush money criminal trial came and went Tuesday morning, when the former president decided not to take the stand to defend himself against charges related to a $130,000 payment to a porn star.

Trump’s defense team concluded its case after calling only two witnesses, including Robert Costello, a lawyer and Trump ally who was called to undermine Michael Cohen’s credibility.

Whether or not the former president would testify was a key question on everyone’s lips even before the trial began, an issue that was exacerbated by Trump’s earlier hints that he would do so.

For weeks, the former president played a game of will-they-won’t-they with reporters over the matter.

In early April, he told reporters that he would “absolutely” testify.

“I don’t know, I’m testifying. I tell the truth,” she said before the trial began. “I mean, all I can do is tell the truth. And the truth is that there is no case, they have no case.”

He later doubled down, telling reporters outside the New York courtroom that he wanted to take the stand.

But later, after seven days of the trial, he changed his mind and said he would do it “if necessary.”

“Well, I would if I had to. At this point, I don’t know if you’ve heard of today. Today was just amazing,” he told Newsmax.

Former President Donald Trump (center) sits in Manhattan Criminal Court with his attorneys Emil Bove (left) and Todd Blanche on May 21. (AP)

“People say (the experts, I mean the jurists and experts), they say, ‘What kind of case is this?’ There is no case’.”

Legal experts previously warned that Trump’s decision to testify could easily be used against him, given his history of speaking freely.

It is unclear whether Trump decided not to testify on the advice of his lawyers or for other reasons.

But it’s not necessarily surprising.

During his civil fraud trial in New York last year, he took a similar step when he withdrew from testifying hours before he was expected to return to the stand.

Trump had already taken the stand once in the civil trial.

During that appearance, he struggled to maintain his composure and resorted to admonishing the judge overseeing the case, the prosecutor, his political rivals and his own lawyers. Instead of answering questions directly, she took the opportunity to rant about his personal feelings about the case.

After that testy period, he took to Truth Social to announce that he would not be returning to the stand.

When the former president testified in his defamation trial before E. Jean Carroll, he also received strict instructions about what he could and could not say. He again went rogue.

Former President Donald Trump testifies as he takes the stand in E Jean Carroll’s second civil trial (REUTERS)

“The most important thing when someone testifies is their ability to control themselves, and we’re talking about someone with a history of being the opposite of control when speaking publicly,” said Steve Duffy, a jury consultant with Trial Behavior Consulting. The independent last month.

Whether or not Trump made the right decision this time remains to be seen.

The former president’s fate will soon be in the hands of a jury of 12 New York residents.

After more than four weeks of evidence and testimony, both sides have rested and final statements are expected to begin next week.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments made by his former attorney Cohen to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged 2006 affair in the days before the 2016 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty and denies the matter.