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"Someone wants to cut me into pieces, but don't worry, they won't," Morris Talansky said yesterday before his grandson's wedding in Ramat Gan, two days day before his scheduled cross-examination in Jerusalem District Court.

The American businessman is the main witness in a graft investigation against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"I suppose a big story is going to arrive within a day or two, right?" he said.

Talansky also joked with reporters about the cross-examination. "This will allow me to say everything I know, but don't expect too much drama," he said, reading a prepared statement.

Talansky's remarks come amid predictions by Olmert's defense attorneys that they will "pick apart" his testimony in tomorrow's hearing. A report broadcast yesterday on Channel 10 indicated that the prime minister's lawyers have gotten their hands on videotapes showing Talansky in a negative light.

A Channel 2 report added that they have also collected bank documents showing irregular financial transactions.

Ronen Tzur, Talansky's media consultant, condemned what he called an "attempt to threaten a witness in such a ridiculous manner."

Talansky gave his initial deposition last month. In an unusual move, prosecutors won permission to depose him in court even though no indictments have yet been filed in the case. They requested the early testimony because the businessman resides in the United States, and authorities were concerned he might not return to Israel to testify in the future.

Meanwhile, a rift reportedly erupted in Olmert's defense team when they tried to determine which of them would perform the cross-examination. They eventually selected Eli Zohar and Navot Tel-Tzur to conduct it, meaning that Prof. Ron Shapira will not participate.