Donald Trump Jr. was the first of the Trump children to take the witness stand in the fraud case the New York Attorney General Letitia James launched against Trump Organization executives.
“I should have worn makeup,” he said on Nov. 1 as pool photographers snapped multiple shots of him.
Mr. Trump Jr. was indicted alongside his father, former President Donald Trump, in the multimillion-dollar case that may prohibit them from holding executive business positions in New York state for five years.
New York Justice Arthur Engoron is presiding over the trial, which began on Oct. 2, and has already ruled in a summary judgment that President Trump is liable for fraud.
Prosecutors asked Mr. Trump Jr. about his positions and responsibilities within the Trump Organization, which he described as an umbrella term for the family’s businesses.
When President Trump took office in 2017, he transferred ownership of the Trump Organization to a trust, and Mr. Trump Jr. served as a trustee.
At the center of the case are the statements of financial condition (SFC) for the Trump Organization, which list the family’s assets and President Trump’s total net worth each year.
Prosecutors questioned Mr. Trump Jr. about the documents and accounting standards used in them.
Mr. Trump Jr. said he did not have knowledge of the accounting standards and relied on the expertise of the accountants hired to prepare the SFCs for the Trump Organization.
“These people had incredibly intimate knowledge. I relied on them,” he said. “The accountants worked on it. That’s what we paid them for.”
Mr. Trump Jr. said he was not involved in compiling the SFCs but could have been involved in discussions that led to coming up with particular numbers, without knowing it was for the SFC.
His testimony will continue on Nov. 2, and his brother Eric Trump will take the witness stand next.
Ivanka Trump had been ordered to testify by Justice Engoron, but on Nov. 1 her attorney Bennet Moskowitz filed a notice of appeal.
Mr. Moskowitz had argued in a court hearing before Justice Engoron that Ms. Trump does not transact business at Trump Tower, contrary to her subpoena, and New York is no longer her primary residence.
“Since 2018, she’s been there once or twice a year, never for business, to say hello, to people including family members for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, things like that.
“So there is no basis to say a service on an entity at Trump Tower is service on her individually. That’s just wrong,” he said according to a transcript of the hearing.
Justice Engoron denied the motion, ordering Ms. Trump to appear in person for a testimony, but scheduling her appearance later than her brothers so that the decision could be appealed.
“Plaintiff’s papers make abundantly clear documentary evidence that Ms. Trump owns property in New York and has done business in New York,” he said.
If she testifies, it will be on Nov. 8 after her father’s testimony—which is expected on Nov. 6 and possibly will continue into a second day.
On Nov. 1, President Trump blasted the judge for the order.
“Leave my children alone, Engoron. You are a disgrace to the legal profession!” he wrote on Truth Social.
Earlier on Nov. 1, Michiel McCarty testified as an expert witness for the attorney general’s office.
Relying on Mr. McCarty’s calculations, the prosecutors had determined that banks lost out on millions of dollars in interest that could have been charged if President Trump’s SFCs had different numbers.
Defense attorneys had sought to prevent Mr. McCarty’s testimony, arguing in a filing that expert witnesses are allowed to opine on facts, but Mr. McCarty’s report addresses “what actions might, theoretically, have been taken by lenders as to loan transactions.”
He was allowed to testify, and during questioning Mr. McCarty testified that several factors, including debt and equities, would have increased the risk of, and therefore interest rate given to the Trump Organization.
Defense attorneys objected, arguing that there is no basis to say that the banks would have acted differently had the numbers on the SFCs been different, and therefore the gains were not “ill-gotten.”
They argued that Mr. McCarty was testifying as to the “mathematics” of his analyses, “not to the ill-gotten nature of the gain.”
During cross-examination, Mr. McCarty confirmed that he was not familiar specifically with Deutsche Bank credit policies, referring to the bank that lent the Trump Organization money for several developments.
He said he had looked at the Deutsche Bank lending and credit policies prior to submitting his report to the attorney general’s office, but could not recall how long.
Mr. McCarty added that he “didn’t think it was relevant” that President Trump was in the “top tier of verifiable net worth” in the regional market he was developing, and earlier noted that banks have historically been willing to lend to high net worth individuals because they repay the loans.
He also said that Deutsche Bank did market to President Trump and wanted his business.
From The Epoch Times