Donald Trump Jr. takes the witness stand in fraud trial

Court Watch 2023/11/02 09:58   Bookmark and Share
Donald Trump Jr. testified Wednesday that he never worked on his father’s financial statements, the documents now at the heart of the civil fraud trial that threatens former President Donald Trump’s real estate empire.

The ex-president’s eldest son is an executive vice president of the family’s Trump Organization and has been a trustee of a trust set up to hold its assets when his father was in the White House.

At least one of the annual financial statements bore language saying the trustees “are responsible” for the document. But Donald Trump Jr. said he didn’t recall ever working on any of the financial statements and had “no specific knowledge” of them.

The lawsuit centers on whether the former president and his business misled banks and insurers by inflating his net worth on the financial statements. He and other defendants, including sons Donald Jr. and Eric, deny wrongdoing.

Trump Jr. said he signed off on statements as a trustee, but had left the work to outside accountants and the company’s then-finance chief, Allen Weisselberg.

“As a trustee, I have an obligation to listen those who are expert — who have an expertise of these things,” he said.

“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,” he said, “these people had an incredible intimate knowledge, and I relied on them.”

The first family member to testify, he is due to return to the stand Thursday. Next up will be his brother and fellow Trump Organization Executive Vice President Eric Trump and, on Monday, their father — the family patriarch, company founder, former president and 2024 Republican front-runner.

Daughter Ivanka, a former Trump Organization executive and White House adviser, is scheduled to take the stand Nov. 8. But her lawyers on Wednesday appealed Judge Arthur Engoron ‘s decision to require her testimony.

New York Attorney General Letitia James brought the lawsuit, alleging that Donald Trump, his company and top executives, including Eric and Donald Jr., conspired to exaggerate his wealth by billions of dollars on his financial statements. The documents were given to banks, insurers and others to secure loans and make deals.

The former president has called the case a “sham,” a “scam,” and “a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt of all time.”
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