Eric Trump denied ever having anything to do with financial statements relating to his father’s property empire as he took the witness stand in a civil fraud trial.
The son of the former president raised his voice in irritation as he was repeatedly quizzed over documents to do with the family business, the Trump Organization.
He told a court in New York: ‘We’re a major organization, a massive real estate organization, of course I understand we have financial statements, absolutely.’
But he added: ‘I had no involvement, nor never worked on my father’s statement of financial condition.’
Earlier, Eric had arrived at court with his brother Don Jr. flashing thumbs-up signs.
Eric Trump (L) and Donald Trump Jr. (R) arrive at court in New York
Eric Trump gives a thumbs-up before taking the stand
There were more thumbs-ups from Don Jr. as he entered court
Judge Arthur Engoron allowed the media inside the courtroom to take photographs.
The judge joked ‘Does everyone have their makeup on?’ and added: ‘You think they got enough photos?’
The Trump brothers are both giving evidence today in a $250 million civil fraud trial.
Judge Engoron has already ruled that former president Donald Trump, Don Jr. and Eric, and the Trump Organization fraudulently inflated the values of its properties to secure favorable terms on loans.
Prosecutor Andrew Amer asked Eric Trump about an email from a decade ago in which he said details about the family’s personal finances should be distributed to a limited number of people.
Eric Trump responded: ‘You wouldn’t want 1,200 people to see your personal finances.’
He added: ‘I was 26 at the time. I don’t think I ever saw or worked on a statement of financial condition. I don’t believe I would have known about it, not what I did.”
Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s son and co-defendant, Eric Trump, testifies
Donald Trump Jr. speaks to the media outside court
Don Jr., 45, took the stand on Wednesday, and Thursday morning, before Eric was called.
In his testimony Don Jr. acknowledged he had signed financial documents that the judge has ruled were fraudulent.
However, he suggested the blame lay with others who worked on the documents.
Don Jr. said he relied on accountants within the Trump Organization, and outside firm Mazars, to ensure that financial estimates relating to Trump properties and other assets were accurate.
‘They had more information and details on all of this than I would have,’ he said. ‘That’s why we have accountants.’
The financial documents are at the heart of the trial, which threatens to undermine the Trump family’s property empire.
Don Jr.’s testimony concluded shortly before lunch and his brother Eric was expected to follow him on the witness stand.
The two brothers took control of the Trump Organization in 2017 when their father became President of the United States.
Don Jr. told the court the company has improved its bookkeeping since New York Attorney General Letitia James began investigating its finances.
Donald Trump Jr., and lawyer Alina Habba (L) in court
Eric Trump waits to give evidence
The company’s top financial officer is now a certified public accountant, unlike former finance chief Allen Weisselberg, he said.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty to tax crimes in a separate case in 2022.
Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is expected to testify in the case on Monday.
James is seeking at least $250 million in damages and a permanent ban on Trump, Don Jr. an Eric running businesses in the state of New York.
The civil trial is expected to last through December.
In a late-night social media post earlier this week Trump took aim at the judge.
He wrote: ‘Leave my children alone, Engoron. You are a disgrace to the legal profession!’
The former president has already attended court several times to observe the proceedings.
Last week, he sat glowering at the defendant’s table as Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer and fixer, testified.
Cohen told the court that Trump directed him to manipulate the values of his company’s assets.
Donald Trump has told Judge Arthur Engoron (R) to ‘leave my kids alone’
New York Attorney General Letitia James (R) in court
The trial is one of a series of cases Trump must contend with as he campaigns to retake the White House.
He faces a total of 91 felony charges in four separate criminal prosecutions, including two cases stemming from attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in all of his criminal and civil cases.
In the New York case he has accused Judge Engoron of political bias.
As the trial resumed on Thursday he wrote on social media: ‘This is a great Miscarriage of Justice.’
Judge Engoron has already fined Trump $15,000 for repeatedly violating a gag order that prohibits him from publicly criticizing court staff.