Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. seemed to ensnare themselves in contradictions during testimonies in a $250 million business fraud trial involving their family. Eric Trump claimed that he had “never worked” on the Trump Organization’s statement of financial condition and that he did not know about it until the fraud trial. However, when cross-examined by the New York Attorney General’s office, Trump admitted that he knew about it as far back as 2013.
“Is it correct that when you received this email in August of 2013, you understood that your father had an annual financial statement and you understood that Mr. McConney was asking you for information to assist with notes for that financial statement?” prosecutor Andrew Amer asked.
“Yes,” Eric conceded. “I have no recollection of ever providing Jeff material to be used in a statement that I’ve ever seen.”
The Trump Brothers and Their Failing Memories
Both Trump brothers spent most of Wednesday and Thursday on the stand but repeatedly claimed they did not remember the details of their times as top executives in their family business. Don Jr. claimed he could not remember a time in 2021 when he was removed and then reinstated as a trustee of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.
He also could not recall why his father had added himself as a trustee during his presidency, or remember working on his father’s statement of financial condition.
The prosecution’s strategy is clear. It aims to undermine the Trumps’ credibility by presenting Judge Arthur Engoron, who has already found their defense incredulous, with further evidence that they are not to be believed.
“Without calling him a liar or asking expressly if he wanted to correct his testimony, Amer got Eric to concede today, in essence, that his unambiguous, confident declarations of zero knowledge of or involvement in the statements were, at best, based on a very faulty memory and at worst, constituted deliberate falsehoods,” NBC News reporter Lisa Rubin wrote. “Both were important objectives for the AG, and Amer was a study in how not to lose one’s cool as a lawyer when confronted with a testy, evasive witness.”
Passing Blame on Accountants and the Bank
The Trump brothers blamed former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Wesselberg and their accountant Mazars USA for the dramatic overvaluations of their properties. Wesselberg served 100 days in jail earlier this year in connection with tax evasion charges stemming from his work with the Trump Organization.
“I rely on the accounting team to tell me what is accurate, that’s why we have accountants,” Don Jr. said.
Eric Trump similarly claimed ignorance. The state questioned Don Jr. about his role in a representation letter provided to Mazars, which cut ties with the Trump Organization last year, saying it could no longer stand behind 10 years of financial statements. Don Jr. admitted signing the letter but claimed he did not recall specifics.
“I would have sat with the relevant parties… and checked with the legal department, if they assured me that these things were fine, I would have signed off,” Don Jr. said. “For purposes of accounting, I rely on the accountants,” adding that they have more information and details “than I would have ever had.”
Mazars claimed that the trustees of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, established while he was president, were responsible for the veracity of the content of its financial statements. Engoron asked Don Jr. if he had anything to do with the statement of financial condition.
“No, I did not, your honor,” Don Jr. replied, claiming, “I’m sure I’ve signed dozens of these in my time as trustee.”
Don Jr. also blamed Deutsche Bank for errors in the trust’s financial statements to the bank, claiming that the bank was at fault for not doing its own due diligence.
He then claimed that the firm’s accounting methods had changed since Wesselberg’s departure.
Their sister, Ivanka, is set to testify next week, as will their father, former President Donald Trump.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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