April 13, 2024

Prosecutors in hush money case plan to use quotes from Trump’s books against him at trial, filing says

The Manhattan district attorney’s office provided Trump’s defense team with a list of past statements made by the former president — including four dozen quotes from books published between 1987 and 2015 — which they plan to introduce as evidence during the trial, according to a recent defense filing.

The list of statements came from Trump books including “Trump: The Art of The Deal,” his memoir that reached No. 1 on the New York Times best seller list, as well as “Think Like a Billionaire,” “How to Get Rich,” “Think Big and Kick Ass,” and “Great Again.”

Trump’s attorneys have pushed back on the effort, saying that it risks prejudicing the jury while offering limited relevance to the alleged conduct in the case.

“Whatever President Trump’s style of business operations was in 1987, 2004 and 2007 … is by no means probative for how he would have operated those businesses when he was President of the United States of America,” defense lawyer Todd Blanche argued in a filing released this week.

Trump last April pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election. The former president, who has denied all wrongdoing, is scheduled to go on trial on March 25.

According to the defense, some of Trump’s quotes that prosecutors intend to highlight involve his approach to business — including his frugality and “hands-on” approach — while others focus on Trump’s interactions with women, which is expected to be a central issue in the trial.

“I have been able to date (screw) them all because I have something that many men do not have,” Trump wrote in 2007’s “Think Big and Kick Ass,” as highlighted by prosecutors. “I don’t know what it is but women have always liked it.”

Defense attorneys argue some of those statements could potentially offend jurors, such as when Trump wrote, “I always think of myself as the best-looking guy and it is no secret that I love beautiful women.”

“All the women on The Apprentice flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected. A sexual dynamic is always present between people, unless you are asexual,” he wrote in 2004’s “How to Get Rich, as included in prosecutors’ list of Trump’s past statements.

In a recent motion prosecutors filed seeking to protect the identities of jurors in the trial, they warned that Trump’s past actions and statements present “a significant risk of juror harassment and intimidation” — specifically quoting from “How to Get Rich.”

“When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can,” prosecutors quoted from Trump’s 2004 book. “For many years I’ve said that if someone screws you, screw them back.”

Alleging that Trump’s past attacks on jurors “caused them to fear for their own safety and the safety of their families,” prosecutors specifically requested that only the counsel of record for each party be privy to the jurors’ residential addresses.

“Defendant’s rhetoric about attacking his perceived opponents is, according to him, part of his longstanding worldview,” prosecutors wrote.

Trump’s hush money trial would not be the first time the former president has been confronted by his own past statements. Columnist E. Jean Carroll’s recent defamation trial against the former president — in which a jury awarded Carroll $83 million in damages — centered on two of Trump’s defamatory statements after Carroll accused him of sexual assault.

At the trial, lawyers for Carroll played videos of Trump’s deposition in a separate case — where Trump claimed to have over $400 million in cash and be worth over $10 billion dollars — to bolster their request for damages.

In Trump’s criminal hush money case, Trump’s lawyers argue that statements taken from Trump’s books are “largely irrelevant, stale, and cumulative.” They have requested that if prosecutors attempt to introduce the statements as evidence, they should justify each statement or make an argument for the statements before the trial begins.

“Many of the statements that the People seek to admit have no apparent relevance to the issues in this case and will only lead to juror confusion,” they argued.

Defense attorneys have also pointed out that four of the books cited by prosecutors were written with the help of a ghostwriter, raising the question of whether the quotes can be directly attributable to Trump.

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