Trump will face a grueling cross-examination about his lying, defaming, and books-cooking if the DA gets his way

  • Leaving his NY hush-money trial Friday, Trump said he plans to testify in his own defense.

  • This was soon after he sat through a hearing on prior acts the DA hopes to cross him on.

  • Trump would be confronted on his history of lying, falsifying documents, and ignoring judges.

If former President Donald Trump keeps his promise to testify at his hush-money trial, cross-examination could get ugly.

Manhattan prosecutors said Friday that they want to grill Trump about that time he lied under oath, as the judge in his civil fraud trial found in October.

Prosecutors want to roast him on the stand for violating court orders, as the same fraud trial judge also found, in repeatedly citing Trump for gag-order violations.

And they want to barbecue Trump over the way he seemingly couldn't stop defaming writer E. Jean Carroll, who he was found liable of sexually abusing and defaming in a civil trial.

Possibly worse — given that Trump is on trial on charges of falsifying business documents — prosecutors also want to ask him about two trials where he and his executives were found to have falsified business documents. Those were the 2023 Trump Organization payroll-tax-fraud trial and, again, the civil fraud trial.

"Yes," Trump told reporters as he left court Friday, when asked if he will testify.

It was at least the second time the GOP frontrunner promised to take the stand in his own defense at the trial, in which he is accused of falsifying business documents as part of a scheme to interfere with the 2016 election.

The timing was noteworthy.

Just moments earlier, Trump sat through what's called a Sandoval hearing, where his lawyers and prosecutors argued over what "prior bad acts" could be fair game on his cross-examination.

Trump was visibly angry — scowling at the defense table — as his acts were sorted over.

On his way out of the courtroom, he thumped a wooden railing with his hand.

"We object to each," defense lawyer Emil Bove had said of all the acts prosecutors want to bring into the case.

During the nearly two-hour Sandoval hearing, Bove complained of the DA's plans to the trial judge, state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan.

Bove said that the verdicts, judgments, and contempt-of-court orders that prosecutors want to question Trump about are mostly under appeal and "unduly prejudicial," meaning they'd unfairly prejudice the jury against the former president.

The defense lawyer fought especially hard against jurors hearing that a federal jury in Manhattan had found Trump liable for violating Carroll with his hands during an assault in the mid-1990s — an attack that the judge said effectively amounted to rape.

"What is the theory of this trial?" Bove asked angrily.

"Are they making arguments about sexual misconduct?" he demanded. "This is a case about documents."

Trump's lying about sexual assault "is critical evidence that the jury should have in assessing his credibility if he testifies," countered Matthew Colangelo, a prosecutor for District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Merchan said he would render a Sandoval decision Monday, to be followed by opening statements.

Prosecutors will then call their first witness, a person whose name has not yet been made public. Their testimony will not be finished before the day breaks early for the first day of Passover, prosecutors said.

When defense lawyers asked for a second time for prosecutors to give advance notice of who would be the first witness, they were again turned down. Prosecutors are under no obligation to give early notice of their witnesses.

When defense lawyer Susan Necheles suggested that not knowing the name now might "delay the trial," the judge reacted sternly.

"Whether you get the name or not, you are not going to delay the trial," the judge said.

"We don't want to, your honor," Necheles said.

"Well, you won't delay the trial," the judge snapped back.

Trump has consistently denied wrongdoing in the case. He faces a potential sentence of anywhere from zero to four years in jail if convicted.

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