Eric Trump, who helps run the former president’s real estate business, testified that financial documents sent by his father’s company to Deutsche Bank AG to obtain loans for the Trump Organization were “accurate,” even though a judge has already determined they were fraudulent.
“I wouldn’t sign something that was not accurate,” Eric Trump, 39, said Friday in a New York court. It was his second day providing sworn testimony in a trial over civil fraud claims by the state.
New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges in the lawsuit she filed last year that Donald Trump, his company and top executives, including Eric Trump and his brother Donald Trump Jr., conspired to exaggerate his wealth by billions of dollars for years, resulting in $250 million in illegal profits.
Justice Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing the case without a jury, already ruled the financial statements were fraudulent, focusing the trial on who was involved in creating them, how they were used and what penalties should be imposed. Donald Trump, who’s set to testify Monday when the trial resumes, denies wrongdoing, as do his sons.
Eric Trump, a senior vice president at his father’s company, had signed documents the Trump Organization sent to the bank attesting to their accuracy. He insisted in court that he relied on others to ensure they were accurate, echoing assertions made by his older brother, who testified on Thursday.
Eric Trump insisted he wasn’t involved in the daily operations of the company and only signed documents when he got expert advice to do so.
“I relied on our accounting office,” he said. “I relied on one of the biggest accounting firms in the country, and I relied on one of the greatest legal teams in the country, and when they gave me comfort that the statement was perfect, I was happy to execute.”
But earlier in the trial, Mazars USA LLP accountant Donald Bender testified he relied on the Trump Organization to provide accurate valuation data and that he wouldn’t have signed off on the financial statements if he had known they were inflated. Bender said under the terms of the contract with Trump, Mazars wasn’t required to verify the appraisals.
Trump Organization statements of financial condition were given to banks, insurers and others to secure loans and make deals. Eric Trump expressed little concern for how others used the documents.
He was asked about Deutsche Bank loan certifications he’d signed for properties, including the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, the Old Post Office property in Washington and the Trump National Doral golf club in Florida.
“I don’t choose what someone relies upon,” he said. “As to what Deutsche Bank does with it, it is within their own purview. What the bank wants to rely on, they can rely on.”
He was also asked about his father’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The New York attorney general alleges the Trumps valued the Palm Beach property at more than $700 million based on the false premise that it could be fully developed for residential use even though the former president himself had agreed to restrictions limiting it to use as a social club.
When Eric Trump was shown a 2021 email he’d received in which Trump Organization executives discussed the Mar-a-Lago valuation, he disavowed any responsibility for it.
“I don’t think I would be so nitty gritty that I would focus on this,” he said. “It’s very clear that it’s a club and also a private residence, so I agree with that 100%.”
Ivanka Trump, the former president’s eldest daughter, also is slated to testify this week, after losing her appeal to delay it.
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