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Donald Trump Jr. returned to the witness stand in a fraud trial that poses a threat to the family business. He delivered a lengthy sales pitch, praising his father’s “artistry” and the real estate “canvas,” as his lawyers began their defense.
In his recent testimony, the former president’s eldest son was questioned by lawyers from the New York Attorney General’s office and vehemently denied any involvement in his father’s financial statements, which are at the center of a fraud lawsuit against the family.
His brother Eric and sister Ivanka both denied any involvement in the documents during their testimonies. However, evidence presented by the attorney general’s office suggested that they were fully aware of them.
The case brought by the attorney general depicted Donald Trump, who was filled with self-importance, as a significant player in creating falsified documents that overstated his wealth and possessions. He was accused of deceiving banks and lenders in order to secure more advantageous conditions for his family’s company and its extensive real estate holdings over a period of ten years.
However, during his testimony on Monday, the eldest son of the previous president was not questioned about those figures. Instead, while being questioned by his own lawyers, he commended his father’s “creativity” and “foresight”.
Donald Trump Jr is the initial individual to testify on behalf of the defense. This comes after Ms. James’s team presented their case and concluded six weeks of witness testimonies from 24 individuals. During his testimony, he provided a short overview of his involvement in the Trump Organization and proudly spoke of his father’s reputation and impact on the industry. He also mentioned his father’s ability to push boundaries.
The attorney general’s office opposed the use of a presentation titled “The Trump Story,” which outlined the history of the Trump family’s real estate ventures and the properties involved in the lawsuit.
“I’m not familiar with this document titled ‘The Trump Story’,” stated Colleen Faherty, the counsel.
She stated that the presentation began after lengthy discussions that were not related to anything pertinent. Just a few days ago, Donald Jr.’s recollection appeared to be lacking, but now he is recounting decades of his family’s business background.
The judge, Arthur Engoron, acknowledged that the attorney general’s office had spent six weeks presenting their case and allowed them to continue. “I overrule the objection,” the judge remarked with a hint of sarcasm. “Please proceed and discuss the supposed greatness of the Trump Organization.”
During the discussion of events, Donald Trump Jr referred to Mar-a-Lago as an “American castle” and “one of the most magnificent estates in the world.” He also described his father as an “artist in the real estate industry” with a unique vision that sets him apart from others.
However, the lawsuit filed by Ms. James reveals that the values of these properties were significantly overstated when presented to financial institutions for the purpose of obtaining loans, ultimately benefiting the Trump Organization and his family. In a previous ruling, Judge Engoron determined that the defendants were guilty of fraud, stating that Mr. Trump’s previous statements were unfounded and unsupported by law or fact.
The sons of Mr. Trump, who are both named as defendants in the lawsuit, have been heavily involved in the operations of the Trump Organization during their father’s presidency and in the years after.
From 2017 to 2021, while Mr. Trump was president, Donald Trump Jr. oversaw a trust that handled his father’s assets. Meanwhile, Eric Trump was responsible for the daily operations of the Trump Organization, which oversees the family’s various businesses and real estate ventures.
During his initial day of testimony earlier this month, Donald Jr reiterated the statements he gave during a recorded deposition, absolving himself of any accountability for the financial statements. He stated that he relied on the advice of the accountants who assisted in their preparation.
He stated that he values their expertise and that is the reason we hired them.
In the past, he has claimed to not know what is considered “generally accepted accounting principles,” or GAAP, which are the fundamental guidelines for preparing financial statements. He stated that he learned about them in “accounting 101” during his time at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His sister also testified to not remembering a message suggesting she wanted to alter the language surrounding GAAP.
Lawyers representing Ms. James consistently presented the siblings with evidence and messages that seemed to demonstrate their greater knowledge of the contents of those statements than they had previously declared while under oath.
During his testimony earlier this month, Eric Trump became angered while on the stand and stated, “We are a large organization, a huge real estate organization.”
He stated that he was quite confident that we would possess financial records.
On Monday morning, the courtroom of Judge Engoron on the third floor of the New York Supreme Court in lower Manhattan was relatively calm after two weeks of testimony from the Trump family, which included Donald Trump and his three eldest children.
A few camera crews were positioned in the hallway directly outside the doors. They were surrounded by cameras on both sides, separated by barricades, to film Trump and other individuals entering and exiting the courtroom.
The case – poking directly at the “businessman” narrative behind Mr Trump’s persona and presidential campaign – has clearly rattled the former president, whose testimony tried to thread a needle that downplayed the existence of the statements of financial condition while arguing that his net worth is actually much higher than the already inflated numbers on them.
He became infuriated with the situation and directed his anger towards the case, the attorney general, and the judge. The judge has disregarded the attacks against him and has imposed fines on Trump twice for breaking a gag order regarding his remarks about the court staff. The judge also extended the gag order to include Trump’s lawyers after they criticized the judge and his chief clerk directly after two days of testimony from Donald Jr and Eric. The attorney general’s office described the testimony as “extremely” favorable to their case.
The case is a civil lawsuit, therefore there are no criminal consequences and the Trumps will not face imprisonment. Instead, Ms. James is seeking to retrieve at least $250 million in unlawfully acquired profits and prevent the Trumps from conducting business in the state.
Following the conclusion of the prosecution’s case last week, lawyers representing the Trump family requested a directed verdict from the judge, seeking to bring an end to the trial. Their argument was that the plaintiffs were unable to prove their case.
Judge Engoron has consistently indicated his desire to proceed with the case according to the schedule he has set, including holding hearings up until the weekend before Christmas.
This is an ongoing news report.