Is Donald Trump Afraid to Testify?

Donald Trump’s ceremonious pre-trial speech on Monday was speckled with variations of one question for the waning case: will he testify?

“Mr. Trump are you surprised your lawyers advised you not to testify?” one reporter asked Trump outside of the courtroom hosting the former president’s New York hush money trial.

The criminally charged presidential nominee refused to answer the question, pivoting instead to issues surrounding his campaign while continuing to complain that the trial and the judge overseeing it are “totally corrupt” and “interfering with an election.”

“Thank you very much. I’m here instead of campaigning. As you know, I was supposed to be in a very different state this morning, and the judge actually decided to call this early,” Trump said. “I was supposed to be making a speech for political purposes. I’m not allowed to have anything to do with politics, because I’m sitting in a very freezing cold courtroom for the last four weeks. It’s very unfair.” Trump has repeatedly violated a gag order that prohibits him from attacking, among others, family members and staff members of Judge Juan Berchan, who is overseeing the trial—though he is not prohibited from assailing the character of the judge himself.

“This is the most conflicted judge, probably in the history of the court system,” Trump continued. “And everyone knows what I’m talking about! Thank you very much.”

But the same, unanswered question echoed down the hallway as Trump turned to exit—”Will you testify, Mr. Trump?”

Trump had previously indicated that he intended to testify. “All I can do is tell the truth,” Trump said shortly before the trial began. That would be a terrible idea—but it’s not out of the question that Trump would do it anyway. Legal experts have predicted that Trump is unlikely to take the stand, arguing that his bombastic nature would risk perjury or perhaps even open him up to further prosecution.

“I wouldn’t hold my breath on Trump ever testifying in this trial. It would be enormously self-destructive,” Ryan Goodman, a former special counsel for the Department of Justice, speculated earlier this month. “It may require unusual self-control on Trump’s part.”

Trump is accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The Republican presidential nominee faces 34 felony charges in this case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty on all counts.