Eric Trump testifies he wasn’t aware of dad’s financial statements, but emails show some involvement

Nov 2, 2023, 7:00 PM

Eric Trump departs from the first day of testifying at former President Donald Trump's civil fraud ...

Eric Trump departs from the first day of testifying at former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial on November 02, 2023 in New York City. Trump's children, Donald Jr., Eric and daughter Ivanka, are all expected to testify at their father's trial in the coming days. The former president may be forced to sell off his properties after Justice Engoron canceled his business certificates and ruled that he committed fraud for years while building his real estate empire after being sued by Attorney General Letitia James, seeking $250 million in damages. The trial will determine how much he and his companies will be penalized for the fraud. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Eric Trump, one of two sons entrusted to run Donald Trump’s real estate empire, swore Thursday that he was never involved with financial statements that New York state lawyers say fraudulently puffed up the ex-president’s wealth and the worth of the family business.

But when shown a decade-old email asking him for information for one of his dad’s financial statements, the irritated son strove to clarify.

“We’re a major organization, a massive real estate organization — yes, I’m fairly sure I understand that we have financial statements. Absolutely,” Eric Trump testified at the family’s and company’s civil fraud trial. But the Trump Organization executive vice president insisted: “I had no involvement and never worked on my father’s statement of financial condition.”

Though another Trump Organization executive has testified that Eric Trump was on a video call about his father’s financial statement as recently as 2021, the son said he couldn’t remember it.

“I’m on a thousand calls a day,” he said.

Eric Trump followed brother and fellow Trump Organization Executive Vice President Donald Trump Jr. to the stand on a closely watched and sometimes fractious day in the trial. The day ended with Judge Arthur Engoron suggesting he might expand a gag order, after defense lawyers again criticized his law clerk’s role in the case.

Early in the trial, Engoron barred participants in the case from smearing his staff after Donald Trump maligned the clerk on social media. The former president has been fined twice, a total of $15,000, for what the judge said were violations.

Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly complained about the clerk passing notes to the judge during testimony, a practice the attorneys suggest is inappropriate and unfair to them. Engoron says he has an “absolutely unfettered right” to the clerk’s advice.

When the defense complained again Thursday, with Eric Trump watching quietly from the witness stand, a sometimes table-pounding Engoron said he might expand the gag order to include attorneys if anyone refers to a member of his staff again.

The former president, his adult sons and other defendants deny wrongdoing in the case, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. She accuses them of inflating the ex-president’s net worth on his annual “statement of financial condition” documents, which were given to banks, insurers and others to secure loans and make deals.

“So sad to see my sons being PERSECUTED in a political Witch Hunt,” the Republican 2024 presidential front-runner wrote on his Truth Social platform Thursday. James and Engoron are Democrats.

Donald Trump is slated to testify Monday, followed by his daughter Ivanka on Wednesday. An appeals court late Thursday denied her request to delay her testimony.

Eric Trump will return to the witness stand Friday.

His role at the family business got attention earlier in the trial, when an appraiser testified that the scion took an active interest a decade ago in sizing up the value of the Trump National Golf Club and Seven Springs estate, both in New York’s suburban Westchester County. According to the lawsuit, Donald Trump’s financial statements went on to list the properties at estimated values over twice the appraiser’s rough numbers.

Eric Trump testified that he hardly remembered the appraiser’s name, let alone the appraisals.

As he started his testimony, he said he “never had anything to do with the statement of financial condition,” didn’t believe he’d ever seen one, “was not personally aware” of the document and ”didn’t know anything about it, really, until this case came into fruition.”

“It’s not what I did for the company,” said the son, who has said he focuses on building and operating properties.

State lawyer Andrew Amer then showed him 2013 emails from then-Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney.

In one, McConney told Eric Trump — then in a different role at the company — that he was “working on your father’s statement of financial condition” and needed information on one of the company’s properties.

In another message, McConney said he was “working on the notes to Mr. Trump’s annual financial statement” and asked Eric Trump and others for an update on recent major construction work.

“Yes, I know Jeff McConney does financial statements for my father,” Eric Trump said, shifting back in his chair. Soon after, he sprang into his answer about the “massive real estate organization,” his voice rising as he spoke.

Emails and documents indicated he had answered McConney’s requests. But when asked to concede that he was actually “very familiar” with the financial statements, Eric Trump cast the messages as just answering an accounting colleague’s request for a property description.

“I just don’t think it would have registered” that they were for the financial statement, he said.

Donald Trump Jr., for his part, testified that he dealt with the financial statements only in passing, while relying on assurances from company finance executives and an outside accounting firm that the information was accurate.

During his second day on the witness stand Thursday, he said that despite James’ allegations, he still believed his father’s financial statements were “materially accurate.” The former president has said that the documents, if anything, lowballed his wealth.

Trump Jr. also revealed that gaming giant Bally’s recently paid the Trump Organization $60 million to buy the right to operate a public golf course in New York City. The terms of the lease transfer for the former Trump Golf Links Ferry Point in the Bronx hadn’t previously been disclosed.

Outside the courthouse, Trump Jr. told reporters he thought his testimony went “really well, if we were actually dealing with logic and reason, the way business is conducted.”

“Unfortunately, the attorney general has brought forth a case that is purely a political persecution,” he said. “I think it’s a truly scary precedent for New York — for me, for example, before even having a day in court, I’m apparently guilty of fraud for relying on my accountants to do, wait for it: accounting.”

United States News

China’s President Hu Jintao, shakes meets with singer-songwriter, Barbra Streisand, left, and...

Associated Press

Henry Kissinger, secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, dies at 100

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the diplomat with the thick glasses and gravelly voice who dominated foreign policy as the United States extricated itself from Vietnam and broke down barriers with China, died Wednesday, his consulting firm said. He was 100. With his gruff yet commanding presence and behind-the-scenes manipulation of […]

7 hours ago

File - A truck passes oil pump jacks at dusk near Karnes City, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. On W...

Associated Press

US economic growth for last quarter is revised up to a 5.2% annual rate

Shrugging off higher interest rates, America's consumers spent enough to help drive the economy to a brisk 5.2% annual pace from July through September.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

A US Navy plane went into a Hawaii bay. Underwater video shows its tires are touching a coral reef

KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) — Tires from a large airplane that’s been stuck in a Hawaii bay for more than a week are resting on parts of a reef, according to video the U.S. Navy released Wednesday as it figures out a plan to remove the aircraft. There were no injuries to the nine people […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Utah Food Bank volunteers load groceries for the needy at a mobile food pantry distribution ...

Associated Press

Total GivingTuesday donations were flat this year, but 10% fewer people participated in the day

NEW YORK (AP) — Nonprofit organization GivingTuesday estimates that donors gave $3.1 billion this year on what has become one of the most important fundraising days of the year — the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Donations were up $20 million on Tuesday, a 0.6% increase over last year before adjusting for inflation, the nonprofit said. GivingTuesday […]

8 hours ago

(Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)...

Associated Press

US Navy warship shoots down drone launched by Houthis from Yemen, official says

A U.S. Navy warship sailing near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait shot down a drone launched from Yemen, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Maui officials on standby to stop heavy rains from sending ash into storm drains

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Maui officials were on standby Wednesday to prevent ash from August’s deadly wildfire in Lahaina from flowing into storm drains after forecasters said a winter storm could bring heavy rain and strong winds to the island. The National Weather Service said rain falling at a rate of more than 1 inch […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Eric Trump testifies he wasn’t aware of dad’s financial statements, but emails show some involvement