During his time on the witness stand, Donald Trump Jr. passionately praised the impressive real estate portfolio of the Trump Organization, describing it as “sexy” and captivating. In a trial that seemed more like a sales pitch than a fraud investigation, the defense team posed easy questions to Don Jr., allowing him to showcase the strengths of the organization.
At the age of 45, Don Jr. became the first witness called upon by Trump’s legal team as they embarked on their defense in the $250 million fraud trial initiated by New York Attorney General Tish James against former President Donald Trump, his adult sons, and other company executives.
Don Jr.’s testimony provided a glimpse into the defense’s strategy for the six-week trial, which is expected to conclude in mid-December. Under the questioning of defense attorney Cliff Robert, Don Jr. presented a captivating three-and-a-half-hour testimony, accompanied by a polished slideshow titled “The Trump Story,” directly sourced from the company’s official website, trump.com.
Don Jr. passionately delved into the rich history of almost twenty Trump Org properties, portraying them as neglected and dilapidated spaces that only his father’s keen eye could transform into luxurious and breathtaking assets. “My father is a true visionary in the realm of real estate,” Don Jr. exclaimed. “He possesses a unique ability to perceive opportunities that others simply overlook.”
Dressed in a sharp navy blue suit paired with a stylish light purple tie, the eldest son of the former president shared the story of his own rise to power within the company. After graduating from Wharton and spending a year and a half working as a bartender in Aspen, Colo., he eventually climbed the ranks to become the executive vice president.
When asked about the company’s structure, Don Jr. emphasized the importance of meritocracy over titles. He believed that one’s abilities and achievements should be the determining factors in their success.
Unlike their father, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Don Jr. took a more diplomatic approach while testifying. They made efforts to distance themselves from their father’s actions and statements.
During their time on the witness stand, all three siblings faced intense scrutiny regarding their involvement in financial matters. Judge Arthur Engoron acknowledged this as he welcomed Don Jr. back to the stand on Monday morning.
With a smile, Don Jr. jokingly remarked, “I’d say it’s good to be here, your honor, but the AG would sue me for perjury.”
Monday’s proceedings presented a striking contrast to the earlier testimony as Engoron, the judge, allowed Don Jr. to freely provide lengthy and detailed answers without interruption.
AG attorney Colleen Flaherty, however, swiftly conducted an eight-minute cross-examination, highlighting Don Jr.’s remarkable ability to recall specific details about real estate deals, even those that took place decades ago. This was in stark contrast to his previous testimony, which was marred by memory lapses.
During the cross-examination, Flaherty pointed out that 40 Wall Street has been facing challenges with rising vacancy rates and costs, while the Trump International Hotel Waikiki recently made headlines by deciding to drop the Trump name and join the Hilton brand.
The Trump family, including Donald Trump himself, who is considered a front-runner for the 2024 presidential race, along with his adult sons and the Trump Organization, are facing allegations of inflating their net worth to deceive banks and insurers out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Engoron has already ruled them liable for the most serious fraud charge. The trial will now determine the outcome of the remaining charges and the potential financial repercussions, which could amount to millions of dollars.
Trump’s testimony last week was a long and meandering affair, filled with anger towards the judge and James. He vehemently denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the trial as a “scam.”
This trial is just one of the many legal battles that Trump is currently facing. In fact, he is scheduled to appear in four criminal trials next year.
Despite the defense lawyer, Chris Kise, filing a motion for a “directed verdict” last week in an attempt to end the case due to lack of evidence from the Attorney General, the trial is still moving forward.
Kise argued on Thursday that there is no victim, no complainant, and no injury in this case.
On Monday afternoon, Sheri Dillion, Trump’s former tax lawyer, took the stand following Don Jr.’s testimony. She had made her first appearance in the courtroom at the end of last month.