Prosecutors Mine Trump’s Books for Quotes to Use Against Him

Prosecutors cannot force Donald J. Trump to testify at his criminal trial in Manhattan, but that does not mean they can’t use his words against him.

On Tuesday, the prosecutors unearthed a series of damaging excerpts from books that the former president wrote, plucking out passages to help make their case against Mr. Trump. In essence, they called a past version of Mr. Trump to testify against his future self.

In his own words, Mr. Trump described how he kept a focus on minute details and watched every penny that left his accounts, corroborating a core component of the prosecution’s case as they argue that he knew that his company falsified business records to cover up a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, a porn star.

On cross-examination, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, suggested that a ghost writer had been responsible for these words.

Mr. Trump’s written words also described how he sees sexual potential in women that he encounters, a salient point in a trial tethered to encounters with women that he is accused of covering up. “All the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me,” he wrote.

Prosecutors introduced the damning excerpts by questioning Sally Franklin, a witness who is an executive and editor, to read excerpts from “Trump: How to Get Rich” and “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire,” both of which were published by Ballantine, a Penguin Random House imprint.

The jury heard Trump’s written words: “Every dollar counts in business, and for that matter, every dime.” The text continued, “Even in high end shops, I bargain,” adding, “I hate paying retail.”

This was not the first time jurors heard Trump in his own words. Last week, prosecutors played video clips of him talking, and they have questioned witnesses about Mr. Trump’s infamous statement on the set of “Access Hollywood” that he would grab women by the genitals.

But the judge would not allow prosecutors to play the tape for jurors, a decision that elevated the importance of the book passages, or any other opportunity to use Mr. Trump as a witness against himself.

It might not be the only opportunity for jurors to hear from the former president. Although the prosecution cannot legally call him to testify, Mr. Trump could take the witness stand in his own defense, though it is unclear whether he will do so.

For now, jurors heard his words via Ms. Franklin, who read ominous passages in which Mr. Trump spoke of how he treated his perceived enemies.

“For many years I’ve said that if someone screws you, screw them back,” she read from a book by Mr. Trump. It continued: “When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can. Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye.”

As jurors listened, Mr. Trump’s smiling image on a book cover was plastered on screens across the courtroom, a sharp contrast from the scowl he sported throughout the testimony.

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