Former president’s eldest son is a defendant in the Trump Organization case alongside his father and brother Eric
Donald Trump’s eldest son will take the stand today at the New York civil fraud trial surrounding the former president’s business empire.
Donald Trump Jr, a defendant in the case alongside his father, is set to testify as the judge considers whether the Trump Organization and its top executives lied about the value of its properties.
Both Don Jr and his brother Eric – executive vice-presidents at the company – are due to be questioned in court this week. Donald Trump, a former president, is expected to testify next week, before his daughter, Ivanka, who is not a defendant in the case, is set to appear.
In an interview with Newsmax on Monday, Don Jr claimed the “mainstream media, the people in [Washington] DC … want to throw Trump in jail for a thousand years and/or the death penalty. Truly sick stuff, but this is why we fight.”
Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that Trump and his family business committed fraud. Engoron is using this trial – focused on remaining claims of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records – to decide on punishment.
The $250m fraud case against the former president, his eldest sons and other Trump executives has been brought by the office of the New York attorney general, Letitia James.
The trial is a bench trial, with no jury. Engoron is presiding over the case, and will be the sole decider. Because this is a civil trial, Trump will not be sent to prison if found guilty. While he is not required to appear in court, he has on several occasions, including for last week’s testimony by Michael Cohen, his former fixer.
Engoron imposed a gag order on Trump after he criticised the judge’s law clerk on social media. He has since fined the former president twice: first $5,000 after the offending post remained online, and then $10,000 for comments outside the court last week that he concluded amounted to a further attack.