Eric Trump, one of two sons charged with running Donald Trump’s real estate empire, swore Thursday that he was never involved in financial statements that New York state lawyers say had fraudulently inflated the wealth of the ex-president and the value of the family business.
But when shown a decade-old email requesting information about one of his father’s financial statements, the irritated son scrambled to clarify.
“We are a major organization, a massive real estate organization – yes, I’m pretty sure I understand that we have financial statements. Absolutely,” Eric Trump said during the family and business fraud civil trial. But the Trump Organization’s executive vice president insisted: “I had no involvement and never worked on my father’s financial disclosure statement.” »
Although another Trump Organization executive said Eric Trump participated in a video call about his father’s financial statements as recently as 2021, the son said he did not remember it not.
“I get a thousand calls a day,” he says.
Eric Trump followed his brother and fellow executive vice president of the Trump Organization Donald Trump Jr. at the helm on a very supervised and sometimes hectic day in the trial. The day ended with Judge Arthur Engoron suggesting he might extend the silence order, after defense lawyers again criticized his jurist’s role in the case.
At the start of the trial, Engoron barred participants in the case from defaming his staff after Donald Trump slandered the clerk on social media. The former president was sentenced to two finesa total of $15,000, for what the judge called violations.
Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly complained that the clerk passed notes to the judge during testimony, a practice they say is inappropriate and unfair to them. Engoron says he has an “absolutely unlimited right” to the clerk’s opinion.
When the defense complained again Thursday, as Eric Trump watched silently from the witness stand, Engoron, pounding the table at times, said he might extend the silence to include the lawyers if anyone ‘one was again referring to a member of his team.
The former president, his adult sons and other defendants deny any wrongdoing in the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. She accuses them of inflating the ex-president’s net worth through his annual “financial disclosure” documents, which were given to banks, insurers and others to secure loans and close deals. .
“So sad to see my sons being PERSECUTED in a political witch hunt,” the 2024 Republican presidential candidate wrote on his Truth Social platform on Thursday. James and Engoron are Democrats.
Donald Trump is scheduled to testify on Monday, followed by his daughter Ivanka on Wednesday. An appeals court late Thursday rejected his request to delay his testimony.
Eric Trump will return to the witness stand on Friday.
His role in the family business attracted attention earlier in the trial, when an evaluator testified that the descendant took an active interest ten years ago, to assess the value of Trump National Golf Club And Domaine de Sept Sources, both located in suburban Westchester County, New York. According to the lawsuit, Donald Trump’s financial statements listed the properties at assessed values higher than twice the appraiser’s approximate figures.
Eric Trump said he barely remembers the name of the appraiser, much less the ratings.
At the start of his testimony, he stated that he “never had anything to do with the financial situation”, that he did not believe he had ever seen one, that he “was not personally aware” of the existence of the document and “knew nothing”. about it, really, until this case comes to fruition.
“That’s not what I did for the business,” said the son, who said he focuses on building and operating properties.
State’s attorney Andrew Amer then showed him 2013 emails from Trump Organization comptroller Jeffrey McConney.
In one, McConney told Eric Trump – who was in a different role at the company at the time – that he was “working on your father’s financial situation” and that he needed information on one of the company’s properties.
In another message, McConney said he was “working on Mr. Trump’s annual financial statement notes” and asked Eric Trump and others for an update on recent major construction work.
“Yes, I know Jeff McConney does my father’s financial statements,” Eric Trump said, leaning back in his chair. Shortly after, he launched into his response about the “massive real estate organization,” his voice rising as he spoke.
Emails and documents indicated he responded to McConney’s requests. But when asked to admit that he was in fact “very familiar” with the financial statements, Eric Trump presented those messages as simply a response to a fellow accountant’s request for a description of the property.
“I just don’t think it would have registered” that they were in favor of the financial statements, he said.
Donald Trump Jr., for his part, testified that he had only dealt with the financial statements in passing, while relying on assurances from the company’s financial officers and an external accounting firm that the information was accurate.
During his second day on the witness stand Thursday, he said that despite James’ allegations, he still believed his father’s financial statements were “materially accurate.” The former president said the documents instead downplayed his wealth.
Trump Jr. also revealed that gaming giant Bally’s recently paid the Trump Organization $60 million to buy the right to operate a public golf course in New York. Terms of the lease transfer at the former Trump Golf Links Ferry Point in the Bronx had not previously been disclosed.
Outside the courthouse, Trump Jr. told reporters he thought his testimony went “very well, if we were actually talking about logic and reason, how business is done.” .
“Unfortunately, the attorney general has presented a case that is purely political persecution,” he said. “I think it’s a really scary precedent for New York: for me, for example, before I even have a day in court, I’m apparently guilty of fraud for relying on my accountants to do, wait for it: accounting .”