Alvin Bragg May Cross-Examine Trump

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – If former President Donald Trump decides to testify in his ongoing hush money trial, New York prosecutors are prepared to extensively question him about his involvement in various civil lawsuits. According to court documents filed last month but only recently disclosed, the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office intends to scrutinize Trump’s credibility by referencing 13 adverse court decisions involving him or his companies.

The scope of these cases is broad, including a major business fraud trial where Trump was ordered to pay nearly half a billion dollars, as well as instances where he violated gag orders and faced unfavorable jury verdicts. Trump’s legal team has expressed opposition to this line of questioning.

While Trump has shown some willingness to testify in this criminal trial—a stark contrast to his civil suits—this move is uncommon for a defendant in criminal proceedings. He cannot be compelled to testify, and the jurors have pledged not to view his potential decision to refrain from testifying unfavorably.

Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over the trial, will conduct a hearing later this week, known as a Sandoval hearing. This hearing aims to define the boundaries for potential cross-examination by the prosecutors, which will assist Trump’s lawyers in deciding whether he should testify.

The court documents reveal that Bragg plans to discuss the $354 million fine imposed on Trump by a New York judge, who found that Trump conspired to inflate his net worth for tax and insurance advantages. Bragg’s filings accuse Trump of “repeatedly and persistently” falsifying business records, issuing inaccurate financial statements, and engaging in insurance fraud.

Additionally, the district attorney will focus on Trump’s breach of a gag order related to that case, which resulted in $15,000 in fines for Trump after he failed to comply with the judge’s orders regarding public commentary about court personnel. When questioned in court, the judge found Trump’s explanations lacking in credibility.

Prosecutors also plan to bring up verdicts from two lawsuits filed by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll against Trump. One jury found him liable for sexually abusing Carroll in the 1990s, and another jury required him to pay $83.3 million for defaming her when he denied her allegations.

Other mentioned cases include a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation led by the New York Attorney General, a failed lawsuit Trump initiated against Hillary Clinton resulting in him being fined nearly $938,000, and a criminal fraud case against the Trump Organization for which Trump is currently facing similar charges.

In this landmark trial, Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment made by his former fixer, Michael Cohen, to an adult film actress before the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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