You are here

Donald Trump Jr takes the stand in New York civil fraud case

By AFP - Nov 01,2023 - Last updated at Nov 01,2023

NEW YORK — Donald Trump Jr, the former president’s eldest son, took the witness stand on Wednesday in the New York trial accusing the family business of real estate fraud.

Don Jr, 45, is the first member of the Trump family to testify in the civil fraud case in which the Trump Organisation is accused of inflating the value of its assets by billions of dollars to obtain more favourable bank loans and insurance terms.

Don Jr’s younger brother, Eric Trump, 39, is also expected to testify this week and the former president himself may be questioned on Monday, a day shy of one year before the November 5, 2024 presidential election that he hopes will sweep him back into the White House.

Don Jr and Eric Trump are executive vice presidents of the Trump Organisation, a sprawling network of companies managing residential and office skyscrapers, luxury hotels and golf courses around the world.

The former president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who left the Trump Organisation in 2017 to become a White House advisor to her father, is not a defendant in the case but has also been ordered to testify. She has appealed the subpoena.

Prior to his son’s testimony, Trump lashed out at Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the case, and told him to “leave my children alone”.

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, attacked Engoron in a series of scathing posts on his Truth Social platform, calling him a “political hack” who is “doing the dirty work for the Democrat Party”.

“Engoron is crazy, totally unhinged and dangerous,” the 77-year-old former president said. “Leave my children alone, Engoron. You are a disgrace to the legal profession!”


‘There was no fraud’ 


Don Jr and Eric Trump took control of the Trump Organisation when their father entered the White House and are unlikely to deviate from the line taken by the family’s defence attorneys since the trial began a month ago.

They assert that the subjective valuations of the group’s assets, such as Trump Tower and a building at 40 Wall Street, were sincere and banks did not lose any money lending to the Trump Organisation.

“The Banks and Insurance Companies were paid in full, no defaults, they all made money, and there is no Victim [except me!]” Trump said on Truth Social on Wednesday. “My Financial Statements are GREAT! There was no fraud.”

Trump also said he would appeal a partial gag order imposed by Engoron on October 3 that bars him from attacking court staff — though not the judge himself.

Engoron has fined the former president twice already — $5,000 and $10,000 — for violating the order by attacking his law clerk.

The former president does not risk going to jail in the fraud case brought by New York state attorney general Letitia James, but faces up to $250 million in penalties and potential removal from management of the family company.

Trump is not required to attend the trial, but he has shown up sporadically, using his appearances to portray himself as the victim of a supposed Democratic plot to derail his White House campaign.

The civil fraud trial is one of several legal battles facing Trump as he seeks to recapture the presidency.

He is to go on trial in Washington in March for conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and in Florida in May on charges of mishandling top secret government documents.

The twice-impeached former president also faces racketeering charges in Georgia for allegedly conspiring to upend the election results in the southern state after his 2020 defeat by Democrat Joe Biden.

7 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.