Donald Trump’s Sandoval Notice

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Legal experts say that it’s highly unlikely that Donald Trump will testify in his election interference trial. For one thing, his lawyers will (to employ a favourite Trump word) strongly discourage him from doing so. It’s certainly his right not to, a right guaranteed no less by the fifth amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Nevertheless, in the state of New York it’s the prosecution’s duty — and a delightful duty it is — to issue a so-called “Sandoval Notice,” a laundry list of prior bad acts, judicially proven to have been committed by the defendant in other matters not related to the current case. All such prior bad acts can and will be used against Trump during cross-examination — should he testify.

Among the items on Trump’s Sandoval Notice are included the judicially established fact that the “[d]efendant repeatedly and persistently falsified business records,” instances where Trump “testified untruthfully under oath,” the judicially established fact that Trump “sexually abused E. Jean Carroll,” and so on. If you wish to read the entire Sandoval Notice, you may find it here.

What makes the Trump New York Sandoval Notice of particular interest is that it is an official list of judicially established facts about Donald Trump’s prior bad acts thus far. No such list exists anywhere for any former president. It’s part of the public record for all time. Naturally that list is expected to grow, as other jurisdictions in which Trump faces criminal charges will have their own state’s equivalent of the Sandoval Notice.

Unfortunately, Trump’s Sandoval Notice probably won’t be used in court should Trump not testify. But will he? Trump says yes. In Florida last week Trump said, “Yeah, I would testify, absolutely. That’s not a trial. That’s a scam.” So it remains to be shown if Trump was lying about his intent to testify (not a rhetorical consideration) or whether his lawyers will talk him out of it.

Needless to say, should Trump insist on testifying it will prove an unqualified disaster for his case. Trump is blind to how obvious the lies he tells are. Even so, because there is seldom anyone to challenge those lies in real time, many of the stupider members of his cult (and they are legion) are unaware that he’s lying. In a court of law it will be, as they say, a whole ‘nother matter.

Trump is used to shouting down and insulting anyone who calls him to account. That won’t happen in a court of law. In court he will be forced to confront his lies piece by piece and, in the hands of a skilled prosecutor, forced to account for them in real-time. It would be a first for Donald Trump, and between his colossal ego and colossal stupidity he just might put himself in that highly ill-advised position.

Recall that for all his narcissism and stupid behaviour, the late OJ Simpson chose not to testify during his murder trial. For that matter, neither did he fall asleep during the trial, nor did he make threatening comments or gestures toward jurors or officers of the court. But then Donald Trump makes OJ Simpson look like Albert Effing Einstein. Say what you like about OJ, even he would have made a better president than Donald J Trump. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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