Lawyers for Donald Trump are expected to call Eric Trump to the witness stand on Wednesday, his second time testifying in the New York fraud trial against the Trump Organization.
Eric Trump last took the witness stand in early November when he denied involvement with various financial documents and appraisals, including ones he had signed off on or was consulted about. Eric Trump, along with his father and older brother, Donald Trump Jr, is a defendant in the trial.
The trial, which kicked off 2 October, is starting to wind down as the last of the former US president’s witnesses take the stand. Trump is expected to take the stand again on 11 December as the trial’s final witness.
At stake for the family business is a $250m fine for illegally inflating the value of assets on state financial documents in order to boost Donald Trump’s net worth. Judge Arthur Engoron is the sole decider of the case, which does not have a jury. Engoron issued a pre-trial ruling in September that, if accepted by an appeals court, will see Donald Trump lose his business licenses, making it nearly impossible for the Trump family to conduct business in New York.
After four weeks of witness testimony, Trump’s team has been trying to build their case that he had latitude when valuing his assets and that it was ultimately the responsibility of Trump’s accountants and lenders to ensure accuracy.
Trump has argued the company’s financial statements contained a clause that made them “worthless” and that they were unimportant to the banks making loan decisions. Engoron has already struck down that argument but Trump’s team has continued to return to it.
“These bankers were paid back in full, there was no harm, no anything, everybody got their money in full,” Trump said when he last took the witness stand on 6 November. “The banks don’t even know what they’re doing in this case.”
Eric Trump’s appearance on the stand will be the first time a member of the Trump family has been on the stand since 13 November, when Donald Trump Jr appeared as the defense team’s first witness. Trump Jr spent much of his time on the stand extolling the “sexiness” of the Trump Organization’s assets, giving what at times felt like a real estate presentation.
Trump is reportedly planning to attend the trial on Thursday, presumably missing his son’s testimony. He has not made an appearance in court since he took the witness stand nearly a month ago.
Trump has attacked the case, the judge and his staff throughout the trial and has been pushing the limits of a gag order Engoron issued against him. Last week, Trump criticized Engoron’s wife, who has played no role in the trial, calling her the judge’s “Trump hating wife” on Truth Social.