Donald Trump Jr gives evidence again in New York civil fraud trial

14 November 2023, 12:04

Trump Fraud Lawsuit
Trump Fraud Lawsuit. Picture: PA

Trump Jr said he never worked on the annual financial statements at the heart of New York attorney general Letitia James’ case.

Donald Trump Jr returned to give evidence on Monday as defence lawyers started calling witnesses in the New York civil fraud trial that threatens his father’s property empire.

Donald Trump’s eldest son returned two weeks after state lawyers questioned him during a long stretch of the trial that also featured evidence from the former president and Donald Trump Jr’s siblings Eric and Ivanka Trump.

“You thought you were rid of me, your honour,” he quipped in the witness box.

Trump Jr, a Trump Organisation executive vice president, originally gave evidence on November 1 and 2.

He said he never worked on the annual financial statements at the heart of New York attorney general Letitia James’ case.

He said he relied on the company’s long-time finance chief and outside accountants to verify their accuracy.

Ms James alleges that Donald Trump, his company and executives including his sons exaggerated his wealth by billions of dollars on financial statements given to banks, insurers and others.

The documents were used to secure loans and make deals.

James is seeking more than 300 million dollars (£245 million) in what she says were ill-gotten gains and a ban on defendants doing business in New York.

Before the trial, Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that the defendants committed fraud by inflating his net worth and the value of assets on his financial statements.

He imposed a punishment that could strip Trump of marquee properties like Trump Tower, though an appeals court is allowing the former president to remain in control for now.

The Trumps have denied wrongdoing.

Trump Fraud Lawsuit
Donald Trump Jr with members of his legal team (Stefan Jeremiah/AP)

Their lawyers contend that the state failed to meet “any legal standard” to prove allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records.

The state rested its case last Wednesday after six weeks of evidence from more than two dozen witnesses, among them company insiders, accountants, bank officials and Trump’s fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen.

The trial is proceeding after Judge Engoron rebuffed the defence’s request last week to end it early through what is known as a directed verdict.

Judge Engoron did not rule on the request, but indicated the trial would move ahead as scheduled.

Trump lawyer Christopher Kise, seeking a verdict clearing Trump and other defendants, argued last Thursday that the state’s case involved only “successful and profitable loan transactions” and that “there is no victim. There is no complainant. There is no injury”.

After giving evidence in early November, Donald Trump Jr echoed his father’s claims that the case was “purely a political persecution” brought by Ms James, a Democrat, to blunt Trump’s chances as the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Trump Fraud Lawsuit
Donald Trump Jr gave evidence earlier in November (Stefan Jeremiah/Pool/AP)

“I think it’s a truly scary precedent for New York, for me, for example, before even having a day in court, I’m apparently guilty of fraud for relying on my accountants to do, wait for it – accounting,” Trump Jr told reporters on November 2.

On Monday, Trump Jr was to be questioned first by the defence lawyers representing him, his father and other defendants.

A state lawyer is also expected to cross-examine him.

Trump Jr is expected to give evidence on Monday and Tuesday, followed by a tax lawyer who also gave evidence as a state witness.

The defence also plans to call several expert witnesses as part of their case in an attempt to refute testimony from state witnesses that Trump’s financial statements afforded him better loan terms and insurance premiums and were a factor in dealmaking.

When he became president in 2017, Donald Trump handed day-to-day management of his company to Eric and Donald Trump Jr and named Trump Jr as a trustee of a trust he established to hold his assets while in office.

In Donald Trump Jr’s prior evidence, when asked if he ever worked on his father’s “statement of financial condition”, he said: “Not that I recall.”

Trump Jr said he signed off on statements as a trustee, but left the work to outside accountants and the company’s then-finance chief and co-trustee, Allen Weisselberg.

“I had an obligation to listen to the people with intimate knowledge of those things,” he said.

“If they put something forward, I wasn’t working on the document, but if they tell me that it’s accurate, based on their accounting assessment of all of the materials – these people had an incredible intimate knowledge, and I relied on it.”

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Police officers pursue a deer down a hallway at Cedar Grove Elementary School in Toms River, New Jersey

Deer’s escape after breaking into US school captured on police bodycams

Police officers stand by the tail of a small plane that made an emergency landing in Villejuif, outside Paris

Small plane makes emergency landing in Paris suburbs

The mayor of Kyiv has claimed president Zelenskyy is becoming increasingly autocratic.

‘Zelenskyy is becoming an autocrat’ Kyiv mayor Klitschko says, as he warns Ukraine will soon be 'no different to Russia'

Actor Jonathan Majors arrives at court in New York

Jonathan Majors assault trial starts with competing versions of confrontation

Manuel Rocha when he was US ambassador to Bolivia

Former career US diplomat charged with secretly spying for Cuba for decades

A UK city has been crowned the prettiest in the world, according to a study.

UK city crowned ‘prettiest in the world’ - putting Venice in second place

Aitana was created by an AI modelling agency.

‘Spanish influencer’ created entirely by AI generates its modelling agency £9,000 a month with 200,000 followers

In his victory speech in November, Mr Milei promised Argentina that "the reconstruction of Argentina begins."

'It's not a joke, it's a provocation!': Argentina launches another attack on Britain amid Falklands row

Binyamin Needham died fighting in the Gaza strip

British-Israeli teenager killed while fighting for the IDF in Gaza

Police near the Eiffel Tower after the attack

French investigators probe mental health of Paris attacks suspect

Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo

Guinea-Bissau’s president dissolves parliament after failed coup

Flooded streets in the town of Katesh

At least 47 dead and 85 injured after heavy rain and landslides in Tanzania

Municipal workers clear snow from pavements in Moscow

Disruption on roads and at airports as Moscow hit by heavy snow

Rescuers at the copper mine in Chingola

Hopes raised for survivors after more than 30 buried by landslide at Zambia mine

A US military CV-22 Osprey takes off from a base in western Japan

Divers find wreckage and remains from Osprey aircraft that crashed off Japan

Two people on a motorcycle ride past as Mount Marapi spews volcanic material

Indonesia’s Marapi volcano erupts for second day as 12 climbers remain missing