Trump’s defense at NY fraud trial begins with Donald Trump Jr. testimony – US 247 News


NEW YORK — The defense team representing Donald Trump in a civil trial accusing him of fraud began presenting its case Monday, opening with his eldest son returning to the witness stand.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) sued the former president and his namesake business last year, alleging a years-long fraud that involved falsely inflating the values ​​of assets on financial documents to obtain better terms from lenders and insurance firms.

Donald Trump Jr. began testifying Monday morning. When he was summoned to the stand by James’s side earlier this month, Trump Jr. distanced himself from the financial statements, saying that they were the work of the company’s accountants. His brother Eric Trump similarly disclaimed any involvement in the statements. Both men are defendants in the case.

“If they assured me in their expert opinion that these things were fine I would have been fine with that and signed off accordingly,” Donald Trump Jr. said during his earlier testimony.

A look at the civil fraud trial so far

James’s side rested last week after calling both men, their sister and their father to the stand. Her civil case seeks to demonstrate that the former president and other defendants purposefully achieved the values ​​put on Trump’s annual financial statements.

The defense, in turn, has denied any wrongdoing, saying that no fraud took place and that no one was victimized. Asset valuations are subjective, they say, and no banks were duped.

In a pretrial ruling in the case, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron — who is overseeing the trial without a jury and will decide its outcome — concluded that the company’s financial statements were fraudulent. He ordered that all of Trump’s “business certificates” be canceled, although the precise wording left attorneys to argue about what it specifically means for the company.

Trump, for his part, has long attacked the trial. Despite being under no obligation to attend on days when he was not testifying, Trump repeatedly showed up in person and has assailed the case, Engoron and James.

Trump is running for president again, and on top of these civil lawsuits, he faces four pending criminal prosecutions. He has denied wrongdoing on all fronts and said he is being politically targeted.

Sign up for The Trump Trials, our weekly newsletter on Trump’s four criminal cases

Last week, he testified in the NY case and clashed with Engoron, who admonished him and urged one of Trump’s attorneys to control his behavior. During his testimony, Trump said that the financial statements included disclaimers, which he said “totally protected” him and “warned banks to “do your due diligence.”

He also said his wealth was higher than what was reported in the financial statements because his accountants did not factor in his “brand value.”

Berman reported from Washington.