Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday was set to be the first of three of the former President’s adult children to testify in their father’s and his real estate company’s business fraud trial.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed suit in September 2022 against former President Trump, his companies and its officers including Trump’s two adult sons over allegations of more than 200 instances bank, tax and insurance fraud over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021.
The junior Trump’s testimony on Wednesday was to be followed by that of his brother, Eric Trump, on Thursday, and their sister, Ivanka Trump, on Wednesday, November 8.
Former President Trump is also scheduled to testify on Monday, November 6.
The lawsuit accuses Trump Jr. and his brother Eric of knowingly participating in a scheme to inflate their father’s net worth to obtain financial benefits like better loan and insurance policy terms.
“As Executive Vice Presidents, the three children were intimately involved in the operation of the Trump Organization’s business,” the complaint states.
As the complaint notes, Ivanka Trump was also initially named as a defendant in the suit, but in June a New York State appeals court dismissed all charges against her, ruling that statutes of limitations prevented James from suing over transactions that occurred before July 13, 2014, or February 6, 2016, depending on the defendant—adding that all claims against Ivanka Trump were too old to be included the lawsuit.
However, she was ordered to testify by New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron last week, despite arguments from her attorneys that she should not be compelled to do so because she’s no longer a principle in her father’s company.
In a deposition taken last year, Donald Trump Jr., who became a trustee of his father’s business when the senior Trump was sworn in as President in 2017, insisted, “I had no real involvement in the preparation of the Statement of Financial Condition and don’t really remember ever working on it with anyone.”
He added, “Again, people may have asked me about stuff tangentially that I gave them an answer to that they may have then utilized as a basis of knowledge to come up with whatever, but, no, not specifically as it relates to, you know, knowledge about the financial statement.”
As trustee, Trump Jr. certified the statements of financial condition in 2017, 2018 and 2019. During his deposition he claimed that he relied on the Trump Organization’s accounting and legal departments when he signed the paperwork.
In September, Engoron issued a summary judgment in the civil suit, agreeing with James’ allegations that the senior Trump and his company and officers did in fact commit business fraud during the decade in question.
The summary judgment resolved the key claim in James’ lawsuit, but the other claims remain, including the amount of damages that will be levied. The state Attorney General is suing Trump and the other defendants for $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in his home state. The trial could last into December, according to Engoron.
At roughly 2am ET Wednesday former President Trump took to his Truth Social media platform to blast Engoron, calling him a “disgrace to the legal profession” and demanding that he “leave my children alone.”
In a statement peppered with words and phrases typed in all caps, he called James, who is Black, “Racist” and the lawsuit a “HOAX,” demanding it be dismissed.