Donald Trump Jr. returns to testify in New York fraud trial as first defense witness

By | November 13, 2023

Donald Trump Jr. testifies for the second time in front of his family civil trial for fraud in New York Monday, becoming the first witness called by the defense as the case enters a new phase.

Trump Jr. is the eldest son of former President Donald Trump and a top executive of the Trump Organization. He is also a co-defendant in the civil lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, which accuses him, his father, the Trump Organization and other executives of orchestrating a 250-year-old fraud scheme. million dollars over a decade by inflating the value of Trump’s properties and inflating the value of Trump’s properties. Trump’s personal net worth.

Trump Jr. had already testified at the trial earlier this month, when lawyers from James’ office called him to the stand to answer questions about the financial statements at the heart of the case. The state rested its arguments last week, and Trump Jr. returned as a defense witness on Monday.

“I would say it’s good to be here, Your Honor, but I’m afraid the attorney general will come after me for perjury,” Trump Jr. said at one point.

The testimony of Donald Trump Jr.

In his first testimony, Trump Jr. praised the family business and what he called his father’s “genius.” Responding to prompts in a lengthy slideshow presented by the defense team, Trump Jr. discussed the history of the Trump Organization and many of the properties that Donald Trump purchased or developed.

“He’s an artist with real estate,” Trump Jr. said of his father, later adding: “It’s his canvas that he creates. He’s a creative guy, and he’s also gifted to build.”

Donald Trump Jr. sits in the courtroom of his family’s civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court, November 13, 2023.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Trump Jr. repeatedly cited what he said was his father’s unusual “vision” toward the projects. The state’s lawyers objected to the presentation, which included dozens of slides, but New York Judge Arthur Engoron rejected their effort.

“I think it’s relevant to have a historical perspective. I don’t want any further objections to this,” the judge said.

Earlier in the case and during preliminary hearings, the Trumps’ lawyers sought to explain the apparently inflated valuations as the product of Donald Trump’s “extraordinary” vision. They said his assessments ultimately proved accurate as property values ​​increased. Trump Jr. offered a similar explanation on Monday.

“My father was at the forefront of creating value,” Trump Jr. said.

He described a series of properties that he said were in disrepair when Trump purchased them, saying his father “saw the potential.” The judge in the case previously rejected an argument made by the defense that Trump’s inflated assessments were justified because the properties subsequently appreciated in value.

As in Trump Jr.’s previous appearance during testimony, he joked often, stopping to comment on the work of the court cartoonist and making remarks on the stand about photos of himself and his brother Eric Trump .

“I would have so much fun with this photo, but I will refrain. Lots of Photoshop,” he said at one point, as Eric Trump appeared on screen, with about 70 slides.

Trump Jr.’s previous testimony

Trump Jr. was previously called to the stand on November 2 and 3, when the state called him to the stand. He testified that he relied on Trump Organization accountants to prepare so-called financial statements detailing their father’s assets.

The defense did not question Trump Jr. at the time. His siblings Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, as well as his father, former President Donald Trump, were also called to the stand after Trump Jr.’s first appearance.

The younger Trumps downplayed their role in preparing the financial statements. Engoron concluded in a pretrial ruling in September that the documents fraudulently overstated Donald Trump’s wealth by billions of dollars and the value of some properties by hundreds of millions of dollars. James’ office argues that this allowed his family and business to strike deals with banks and insurers on significantly better terms than the Trumps would have otherwise obtained.

Trump and his co-defendants have all denied any wrongdoing. The trial continues over other allegations, including falsifying business records and conspiracy. The judge is also asked to determine “restitution,” meaning the amount the state should receive for “ill-gotten” gains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *