Donald Trump Jr. is set to return to the stand for the defense today
Donald Trump Jr. is set to return to the stand for the defense today two weeks after state lawyers quizzed him in his father’s $250million fraud trial
- The Trumps deny wrongdoing and accuse the AG and judge of political bias
Donald Trump Jr is set to testify again today in $250million fraud trial that threatens his father’s real estate empire.
Former President Donald Trump, along with his two adult sons and ten of his companies, is accused of inflating his net worth by as much as $2.2billion on financial statements given to banks, insurers and others to secure better financing.
Donald Jr. will today be called by the defense to field questions about his father’s family real estate business. He has already been called as a witness by the attorney general’s office, along with his father and brother Eric Trump.
His sister Ivanka Trump also testified but is not a defendant.
The lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James seeks at least $250million in damages as well as restrictions that would effectively bar Trump and his adult sons from New York’s real estate industry.
The Trumps have denied wrongdoing with the former president having accused James, an elected Democrat, and the judge overseeing the case of political bias and ‘election interference.’
Donald Trump Jr. (pictured after testifying on November 2) will today be called by the defense to field questions about his father’s family real estate business. He has already been called as a witness by the attorney general’s office
Former President Donald Trump, (pictured in court on November 6) along with his two adult sons and ten of his companies, is accused of inflating his net worth by as much as $2.2billion on financial statements given to banks, insurers and others to secure better financing
Donald Jr will be the first questioned by the defense lawyers representing him, his father and other defendants. A state lawyer is also expected to question him on cross-examination.
He is expected to testify today and tomorrow, followed by a tax lawyer who also testified as a state witness.
The defense also plans to call several expert witnesses as part of their case in an attempt to refute testimony from state witnesses that Trump’s financial statements afforded him better loan terms, insurance premiums and were a factor in dealmaking.
Donald Jr., Trump’s oldest son and Trump Organization executive vice president, originally testified on November 1 and 2.
He said he never worked on the annual financial statements at the heart of the lawsuit and said he relied on the company’s longtime finance chief and outside accounts to verify their accuracy.
In his prior testimony, when asked if he ever worked on his father’s ‘statement of financial condition,’ the scion said: ‘Not that I recall.’
In his previous testimony, Donald Jr. (pictured in a November 2 court sketch) said he never worked on the annual financial statements at the heart of the lawsuit and said he relied on the company’s longtime finance chief and outside accounts to verify their accuracy
Donald Jr. said he signed off on statements as a trustee, but left the work to outside accountants and the company’s then-finance chief and co-trustee, Allen Weisselberg.
‘I had an obligation to listen to the people with intimate knowledge of those things,’ he testified.
‘If they put something forward, I wasn´t working on the document, but if they tell me that it´s accurate, based on their accounting assessment of all of the materials.
‘These people had an incredible intimate knowledge, and I relied on it.’
After testifying earlier this month, Donald Jr. echoed his father’s claims that the case was ‘purely a political persecution’ brought by James, a Democrat, to blunt Trump’s chances as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
‘I think it’s a truly scary precedent for New York – for me, for example, before even having a day in court, I’m apparently guilty of fraud for relying on my accountants to do, wait for it: accounting,’ he told reporters on November 2.
Both Eric and Ivanka have also said they were not involved in preparing their father´s financial statements and left bookkeeping at the Trump Organization to accountants.
Both Eric and Ivanka have also said they were not involved in preparing their father’s financial statements and left bookkeeping at the Trump Organization to accountants. Pictured: Eric Trump (center) and Donald Jr (left) arriving at the New York Supreme Court on Nov. 2, 2023
Ivanka Trump has also testified in the civil fraud trial but is not a defendant. She is pictured leaving the New York State Supreme Court in New York City on November 8, 2023
The case is largely about damages, as Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that the defendants committed fraud by inflating Trump’s net worth and the value of assets on his financial statements.
The judge imposed a punishment that could strip the billionaire of marquee properties like Trump Tower, though an appeals court is allowing him to remain in control for now.
The state rested its case last Wednesday after six weeks of testimony from more than two dozen witnesses including company insiders, accountants, bank officials and Trump’s fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen.
The trial is proceeding today after Engoron rebuffed the defense’s request last week to end it early through what’s known as a directed verdict. Engoron did not rule on the request, but indicated the trial would move ahead as scheduled.
Trump lawyer Christopher Kise, seeking a verdict clearing Trump and other defendants, argued last Thursday that the state’s case involved only ‘successful and profitable loan transactions’ and that ‘there is no victim. There is no complainant. There is no injury.’
Donald Jr.’s testimony today follows Ivanka’s blockbuster testimony which saw the former first daughter spent five hours on the stand answering a multitude of questions about her father’s finances, their properties and her work with the Trump Organization in the lawsuit that could sink their Big Apple business empire.
She took the opportunity to contend the family business has ‘overdelivered,’ even as she kept her distance from financial documents that New York state says were fraudulent.
Donald Jr.’s testimony today follows Ivanka’s blockbuster testimony which saw the former first daughter spent five hours on the stand answering a multitude of questions about her father’s finances, their properties and her work with the Trump Organization in the lawsuit that could sink their Big Apple business empire. Ivanka is pictured with her husband Jared Kushner
The 42-year-old said she hasn’t worked for her father’s business empire since 2017 and detailed her involvement in a $150million Miami golf course in a calm and collected appearance on the stand in the New York fraud trial on November 8
Trump’s elder daughter capped a major stretch in the lawsuit that could reshape his real estate empire. She followed her father and her brothers Eric and Donald Trump Jr. to the witness stand, and the New York attorney general’s office rested its case after her testimony. The defense gets its turn now.
Ivanka Trump has been in her father’s inner circle in both business and politics, as an executive vice president at the family’s Trump Organization and then as a senior White House adviser. But she testified that she had no role in his personal financial statements, which New York Attorney General Letitia James claims were fraudulently inflated and deceived banks and lenders.
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‘Those were not things that I was privy to,’ beyond having seen ‘a few documents and correspondence’ that referred to them, Ivanka Trump said.
In even-tempered testimony that provided a counterpoint to her father’s caustic turn on the stand, Ivanka Trump touched on some of the same notes that the ex-president has hammered inside court and out – portraying the Trump Organization as a successful developer of big-dollar projects that satisfied its lenders.
The Doral golf resort in Florida? A ‘Herculean’ renovation undertaken to refurbish a faded treasure that Donald Trump had visited in childhood, his daughter testified.
The company’s historic Old Post Office building-turned-hotel in Washington? ‘A labor of love’ to turn a dilapidated building into a super-luxury hotel, while navigating approvals from a raft of different government agencies.
‘They were complicated projects, and I believe we overdelivered on every metric,’ she said.
But when questions about the post office project turned to questions that its government owners raised about some aspects of her father’s financial statements, she said she didn’t recall that.
The agency overseeing the bidding flagged those concerns in a December 2011 letter to her, and Trump Organization executives looped her in as they prepared a response ahead of a presentation to officials in Washington. An agency document showed the company addressed the issues in its presentation, which she attended.
But Ivanka Trump said she didn’t recall ‘that they discussed financial statements specifically.’ Rather, she remembered talk of ‘our vision for the project’ and the company’s experience, with her father mentioning his renovation of New York´s famous Plaza Hotel.
She retained a stake in the Washington hotel lease until its 2022 sale, which netted her $4million.
Ivanka Trump has been in her father’s inner circle in both business and politics, as an executive vice president at the family’s Trump Organization and then as a senior White House adviser. She is pictured in court on November 8
Unlike her father and his adult sons, Ivanka is no longer a defendant in the case, and her lawyers had tried to prevent her from having to testify.
Ordered to do so, she said she largely didn’t recall the documents and details she was asked about. During about four hours of polite answers punctuated by broad smiles, she once thanked a lawyer in Attorney General James’ office for bringing up the Old Post Office proposal because it ‘brought back a lot of memories.’
‘Ivanka Trump was cordial, she was disciplined, she was controlled, and she was very courteous,’ James, a Democrat, said outside court. But, she added: ‘This case is about fraudulent statements of financial condition that she benefited from. She was enriched. And clearly, you cannot distance yourself from that fact.’
James´ legal team and Trump defense lawyers repeatedly tangled Wednesday over the scope of Ivanka Trump´s questioning, including whether she could be asked about 2013 emails that included her husband, Jared Kushner, in discussions about potential Trump company loans.
Kushner – a real estate executive himself – didn’t work for the Trump Organization. But he had introduced his wife to a Deutsche Bank banker as the Trumps were seeking financing to buy and overhaul Doral, Ivanka Trump testified. Because he also worked in real estate, they would sometimes exchange ideas and advice, she said.
She became the point person in establishing a lending relationship with Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management arm. It eventually extended the Trump Organization hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, with terms that required Donald Trump to submit his financial statements each year.
Amid such assets as Trump Tower, the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida and Doral, the financial statements included a Trump-owned building on New York’s Park Avenue. Ivanka Trump leased and had options to buy two apartments there, and the state’s lawyers contend that her father offered her a steep discount while claiming on his financial statements that the apartments were worth far more.
She testified that she invested over $7.5million in one of the apartments, a penthouse, but never made it her permanent home because she and her family moved to Washington.
Ivanka stepped away from her Trump Organization job as her father’s 2017 inauguration neared, and she became an unpaid senior adviser. After the Trump administration ended, she and her family moved to Florida.
Former President Donald Trump speaks outside the courtroom after testifying at New York Supreme Court on Monday, November 6, 2023
When Trump became president in 2017, he handed day-to-day management of his company to Eric and Donald Jr., naming his eldest son as a trustee of a trust he established to hold his assets while in office.
Trump faces a maelstrom of legal troubles as he campaigns to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the 2024 election, though none have diminished his commanding lead over Republican rivals.
He is a defendant in four criminal trials, including two stemming from his attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss. Trump has pleaded not guilty in all four cases.
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