Trump Sons Eric and Don Jr. to Testify in New York Fraud Trial This Week

Catherine Yang
By Catherine Yang
October 31, 2023Donald Trump
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Trump Sons Eric and Don Jr. to Testify in New York Fraud Trial This Week
President Donald Trump (C), daughter Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. (L) make their way to board Air Force One before departing from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., on Jan. 4, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., both executive vice presidents at Trump Organization and defendants in a fraud petition brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, will take the witness stand this week, on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Testimony may continue into Friday.

Ivanka Trump had originally been scheduled to testify on Friday, but on Monday, in court, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron delayed her testimony to Nov. 8 to give additional time for her brothers to be questioned. Ms. Trump had left the organization by the end of 2016, to take a post alongside her father in the White House, and had been dismissed from the case this summer due to the statute of limitations.

Former President Donald Trump will testify on Nov. 6.

Involvement

Last week, witness Michael Cohen had testified that Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump were part of the efforts to “inflate” asset values to the extent that sometimes Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and he would need to ask them about the properties they were developing, and any additional value in them that could be added to the financial statements.

Before that, former Trump Organization comptroller Jeff McConney said he had phone calls with Eric Trump, who told him to factor in some specifics regarding properties including Seven Springs, which helped add value to those properties.

According to the original petition, Eric Trump “is responsible for all aspects of management and operations of the Trump Organization including new project acquisition, development, and construction,” and actively spearheaded several golf course development projects. In 2017, he and his brother Donald Trump Jr. took over management of Trump Organization from their father.

President Trump had said in interviews, including his deposition for the case, that he deliberately stepped back from his business during his time as president, seeing it as a personal conflict of interest. He said he also advised his children not to do deals while he was in office, because it would not have been fair.

Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are expected to be asked about their correspondence regarding the value of properties they developed.

State attorneys are seeking to establish that Trump Organization executives were responsible for purposely and artificially inflating the value of assets, and President Trump’s net worth.

Accountants who worked for Trump Organization have already testified that they did not do independent audits, and relied on numbers supplied by Mr. Weisselberg to compile the reports.

President Trump maintains that he did nothing wrong, and that the financial statements actually understated his net worth because his name and brand have added value. He said that all of the statements included a disclaimer asking banks and insurers to do their own analyses, which they did, and that banks have seen him as a profitable client.

A Deutsche Bank officer had testified that the bank indeed did their own analysis, and the financial statements were one factor they looked at. An appraiser testified that Capitol One had hired him to look at one of the Trump Organization properties for their own purposes, and he was never hired by Trump Organization.

Case

Last September, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued former President Donald Trump, accusing him of defrauding the state by artificially inflating his net worth each year from 2011 to 2021 by up to $2.2 billion. The petition followed a three-year investigation launched after allegations made by former Trump attorney and Trump Organization executive vice president Michael Cohen, who in 2018 made a very public break from his former boss.

On Monday, Ms. James issued a video statement as the trial headed into its fifth week, recounting testimony from a former Trump Organization vice president, Raymond Flores. He testified that he had been asked to provide a reason to increase the value of the Niketown property, and that Mar-a-Lago had been valued as if it were a private residence in financial statements even though it was registered as a social club.

The attorney general’s office is seeking $250 million.

From The Epoch Times

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