Donald Trump’s sons Don Jr.
When Donald Trump assumed the presidency in 2017, he delegated the daily operation of his real estate empire to his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.
At present, as the Trumps strive to safeguard the continuity of their family business, the brothers are scheduled to provide testimony in a civil fraud case in New York that poses a risk to the future of the Trump Organization.
Donald Trump Jr. is set to give testimony on Wednesday, followed by Eric Trump on Thursday, marking the start of an eventful phase as the trial in the lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James enters its second month.
Letitia James, a Democrat, claims that Donald Trump, his company, and key executives, including Eric and Donald Trump Jr., conspired to inflate his wealth by billions of dollars on financial statements submitted to banks, insurers and other parties to secure loans and negotiate deals.
Donald Trump, the former president and current front-runner for the Republican party in the 2024 election, is scheduled to give testimony on Monday.
Following him, his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, an ex-Trump Organization executive and former White House advisor, is expected to testify on November 8. Once the state lawyers finish presenting their case, Trump’s lawyers will have the opportunity to call their witnesses.
Judge Arthur Engoron declared Trump’s financial statements fraudulent before the trial. As a result, he instructed a court-appointed receiver to take control of specific companies, possibly including Trump Tower. However, the enforcement has been temporarily halted by an appeals court.
In line with their father, both brothers have denied any wrongdoing.
Eric Trump has been at the trial for several days, mainly when his father is also in attendance. He has sporadically provided comments, mainly through social media.
On October 5th, he shared a video compilation on Truth Social, in which James criticized his father. Eric Trump accompanied the video with the statement, “This is the corruption my father and our family are fighting against! The system is weaponized, broken, and disgraceful!”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. has not appeared in court, but since the testimony began on October 2nd, he has consistently criticized the case and Judge Engoron, referring to it as a “kangaroo court.” As per state law, this lawsuit does not involve a jury. Hence, Judge Engoron will render the final decision.
During an interview on Newsmax, Donald Trump Jr. expressed that rules, the Constitution, and general practices hold no significance to those with a specific narrative and end goal.
Leading up to their testimony, state lawyers have questioned other witnesses about Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump’s leadership role in the Trump Organization, as well as their involvement in valuing their father’s properties and preparing his financial statements over the years. Furthermore, their names have been associated with various emails and documents presented as evidence.
David McArdle, an appraiser at Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate firm, provided testimony regarding the valuation of planned-but-never-built townhomes at a Trump-owned golf course in the New York City suburbs.
McArdle mentioned that Eric Trump had significant involvement in the valuation process and arrived at a higher value than him for the project. However, McArdle noted that adopting Eric Trump’s valuation would need more credibility.
At the trial, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump have already given their testimonies, albeit in snippets of prior depositions. State lawyers presented brief excerpts from their affidavits during the opening statements on October 2nd.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
During his testimony in July 2022, Donald Trump Jr. discussed his limited understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). These accounting standards were applied selectively when preparing his father’s financial statements.
Despite not being an accountant, Trump Jr. claimed he could not recall ever having to utilize GAAP in his professional endeavours. He jokingly mentioned that he may have briefly learned about them while at Wharton, referring to it as “probably Accounting 101.” However, he admitted remembering only a few details besides the fact that they were widely accepted.
Statement of Financial Condition
During his deposition in March 2023, Eric Trump stated that he had little involvement in the Statement of Financial Condition to his best knowledge. He appeared to downplay his position as a senior company executive and testified that he focused on specific areas of interest while sharing management duties with his brother.
According to the posted deposition transcript, Eric Trump described himself as someone specialising in construction, concrete, and on-the-ground operations.
When questioned about his decision-making earlier in his career, Eric Trump emphasised his primary responsibilities, which involve concrete pouring and property operations. He clarified that he doesn’t typically get involved in appraisals between law firms and Cushman.
As for Donald Trump, although he attended the trial for a few days in October and recently for four days, his campaign schedule suggests that it’s unlikely for him to return and witness his sons’ testimonies.
During his previous court appearances, Trump expressed his displeasure to TV cameras, referring to the case as a “sham,” a “scam,” and “a continuation of the single greatest witch hunt Of all time.”
Furthermore, he incurred $15,000 in fines for breaching a confined gag order through commenting on a courtroom docket body of workers member, hence demanding the choose twice.