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

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

7 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Idaho group says it is exploring a ballot initiative for abortion rights and reproductive care

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A new Idaho organization says it will ask voters to restore abortion access and other reproductive health care rights in the state after lawmakers let a second legislative session end without modifying strict abortion bans that have been blamed for a recent exodus of health care providers. “We have not been […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

An Alabama prison warden is arrested on drug charges

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — The warden of an Alabama prison was arrested Friday on drug charges, officials with the state prison system confirmed. Chadwick Crabtree, the warden at Limestone Correctional Facility, was charged with the manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

South Africa man convicted in deaths of 2 Alaska Native women faces revocation of U.S. citizenship

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal prosecutors want to revoke the U.S. citizenship of a South Africa man convicted of killing two Alaska Native women for allegedly lying on his naturalization application for saying he had neither killed nor hurt anyone. Brian Steven Smith, 52, was convicted earlier this year in the deaths of the two […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

10-year-old boy confesses to fatally shooting a man in his sleep 2 years ago, Texas authorities say

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A 10-year-old boy has confessed to an unsolved killing in Texas, telling investigators that he shot a man he did not know while the victim slept, authorities said Friday. The boy, who was just shy of his eighth birthday when the man was shot two years ago, has been evaluated at […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

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