Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric Trump arrive at the New York Supreme Court for the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump on November 2, 2023 in New York City.
David Dee Delgado | fake images
Former President Donald Trump’s two oldest children testified Thursday in the $250 million fraud trial in New York against the Trump family and companies.
Donald Trump Jr., who began his testimony Wednesday afternoon, resumed his speech in the morning when the court reconvened. While on the stand, Trump Jr. said he relied heavily on the expertise of accountants and did not remember working on financial records at the center of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ case.
Eric Trump, described in the lawsuit as “responsible for all aspects of the management and operation of the Trump Organization,” was called to testify as a witness shortly before noon.
James’ civil suit alleges a decade-long scheme to falsely inflate Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars to obtain various financial benefits, including tax benefits and better loan terms.
Like his brother, Eric initially tried to distance himself from the financial records, saying he “didn’t know anything about” them. But a state attorney later showed an email he sent in 2013, in which an employee requested information from Eric Trump about one of his father’s financial statements.
Asked again if he knew the financial history, Eric Trump said, “It appears that way.” He subsequently stated that he understood that his father had an annual financial statement.
The case poses an enormous threat to Trump’s ability to do business in New York, the former headquarters of the Queens native’s operations. In addition to seeking around $250 million in damages, James wants to permanently ban Trump and his children from running a business in New York.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron already found Trump and the other defendants liable for fraudulently misrepresenting the values of their assets in financial statements. The trial, which is being held without a jury, focuses on six other accusations alleged by James. The defendants are appealing Engoron’s pretrial ruling.
The brothers and co-defendants, who took over as executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization after their father came to the White House in 2017, arrived together at Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday morning.
They are the first of four Trump family members expected to testify at the trial. The former president is expected to be called on Monday and his daughter Ivanka Trump is expected to take the stand on November 8.
Ivanka Trump was originally listed as a co-defendant, but a New York appeals court removed her on statute of limitations grounds earlier this year.
Trump, who is not expected to attend the trial Thursday, attacked Engoron as a “Trump-hating” judge in a Truth Social post before the trial day began. He also claimed, without evidence, that James’ lawyers “want to settle” the case.