Donald Trump Jr. returned to court Monday as a character witness of sorts for his father’s real estate empire, speaking exuberantly about the former president’s “incredible vision” and the range of “big iconic projects” in the civil fraud trial he It takes place in New York and in which the future of your company is at risk.
Donald Trump’s eldest son returned to the Manhattan trial at a time when defense lawyers have begun calling their own witnesses. Trump Jr. testified for the first time two weeks ago, in the final phase of the state’s presentation of arguments, in which his siblings Eric and Ivanka Trump and his father also testified. Eric Trump is also expected to testify for defense attorneys.
“I would say it’s good to be here, your honor, but I have a feeling the attorney general would sue me for perjury if I said that,” Donald Trump Jr. joked before embarking on a detailed history of his father’s company.
New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges that Donald Trump, his company and his top executives, including Eric and Donald Trump Jr., overstated their wealth by billions of dollars in their annual financial statements. The documents were given to banks, insurers and others to secure loans and do business. James is seeking a penalty payment of more than $300 million in what she says were ill-gotten gains and a ban on the defendants from doing business in New York.
Trump Jr.’s testimony on Monday set the tone for a presentation of arguments by the defense, which is expected to last until mid-December. After the state argued for six weeks, delving deeply into the financial statements, spreadsheets and loan agreements at the center of the case, the former president’s son sought to humanize the image of the Trump Organization in the judge’s mind. that will decide your destiny.
Questioned by his own lawyer, Trump Jr. spent more than an hour narrating a slide presentation titled “The Trump Story,” with a timeline of the company’s evolution and photographs of golf courses, hotels and other big projects. He spoke enthusiastically of his father’s early years as a real estate developer in Manhattan, of his work transforming architectural eyesores into thriving skyscrapers, and of the “vision he had for doing things differently.”
“He is an artist with real estate. “He sees things that others don’t see,” Trump Jr. declared, highlighting his father’s accomplishments and glossing over casino bankruptcies and other failures. “He has incredible vision that other people don’t have.”
Trump Jr., an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, testified first during the state’s arguments on Nov. 1-2. He then testified that he never worked on the annual financial statements that are at the center of James’ lawsuit. He said he relied on the company’s former CFO and outside accountants to verify his accuracy.
At times, his testimony Monday felt like a real estate promotion. The state’s attorney, Colleen Faherty, tried to counter the superlative-filled speech, arguing that Trump Jr.’s enthusiastic testimony was “unfocused on anything relevant” to the case. But Judge Arthur Engoron disagreed and said he found it interesting.
Michael Sisak is on X as: x.com/mikesisak