Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump testify in New York fraud trial

Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric Trump arrive at New York Supreme Court for former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial on November 02, 2023 in New York City. 

David Dee Delgado | Getty Images

The two oldest sons of former President Donald Trump testified Thursday in the $250 million New York fraud trial against the Trump family and business.

Donald Trump Jr., who began his testimony Wednesday afternoon, resumed speaking in the morning when the court reconvened. During his time on the stand, Trump Jr. said he relied largely on the expertise of accountants and did not recall working on financial records at the heart of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ case.

Eric Trump, described in the lawsuit as being “responsible for all aspects of management and operation of the Trump Organization,” was called to the witness stand shortly before noon.

James’ civil lawsuit alleges a decade-long scheme to falsely inflate Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars in order to get various financial perks, including tax benefits and better loan terms.

Like his brother, Eric initially sought to distance himself from the financial records, saying he “didn’t know anything about” them. But a state lawyer then displayed an email sent to him in 2013, in which an employee requested information from Eric Trump about one of his father’s statements of financial condition.

Asked again if he knew about the financial record, Eric Trump said, “It appears that way.” He later testified that he understood that his father had an annual statement of financial condition.

The case poses a massive threat to Trump’s ability to do business in New York, the longtime headquarters for the Queens native’s operations. In addition to seeking around a quarter of a billion dollars in damages, James wants to permanently bar Trump and his sons from running a New York business.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has already found Trump and the other defendants liable for fraudulently misstating the values of his assets on financial statements. The trial, which is taking place without a jury, centers on six other claims alleged by James. The defendants are appealing Engoron’s pretrial ruling.

The brothers and co-defendants, who took over the Trump Organization as executive vice presidents after their father went to the White House in 2017, arrived at the Manhattan Supreme Court together Thursday morning.

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They are the first of four members of the Trump family expected to testify in the trial. The former president is expected to be called on Monday, and his daughter Ivanka Trump is set to take the stand Nov. 8.

Ivanka Trump was originally listed as a co-defendant but was removed on statute-of-limitations grounds by a New York appeals court 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.

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