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Trump’s sons deny knowledge of financial statements at heart of $250 million fraud trial | Donald Trump

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Trump’s eldest sons claimed Thursday that they had no knowledge of the financial statements at the heart of the family’s $250 million fraud trial.

Eric and his older brother Donald Trump Jr claimed in court that they relied on accountants and others to ensure their financial records were correct.

But lawyers for New York’s attorney general presented evidence that the two brothers received documents suggesting they had knowledge of statements that a judge said “clearly contain fraudulent assessments.”

Eric Trump’s comment came as lawyers questioned the brothers about their knowledge of financial statements that prosecutors say prove the Trumps were instrumental in a scheme to inflate the family’s perceived wealth for purposes financial.

“I never had anything to do with the financial statements,” Eric Trump testified.

In a sometimes tense exchange, Eric Trump was asked about emails showing subordinates requesting information about Trump’s financial reports. “Hello Eric, I’m working on your father’s annual financial statements,” read an email from Jeffrey McConney, the former comptroller of the Trump Organization, asking for details about a Trump property.

Eric Trump has consistently denied having any specific knowledge and said he is “not very familiar with my father’s financial situation.” At one point, Eric Trump said “we’re wrong” and said he didn’t realize at the time he was being asked for financial statement information.

“People at the company have conversations with you all the time and you provide them with answers when you can,” Trump said. “I think I was 26,” he added. “I didn’t know about it, I never worked on it and I didn’t know about it until this thing came to fruition.”

Prosecutor Andrew Amer produced various documents which he said disputed this claim. Another email from McConney contained the subject line “F/S,” which stands for “financial statement.” Amer pointed out that McConney was explicitly questioning Eric Trump about the financial statements.

“You would have understood the moment you received that email that your father had an annual financial statement,” Amer said.

A frustrated Eric Trump quickly responded: “We are a major organization, a massive organization. I’m certainly aware that we have financial statements, absolutely.

Earlier in the day, prosecutor Colleen Faherty, who questioned Trump Jr., showed the court a series of documents, including an email sent by a Forbes fact-checker to the Trump Organization that was ultimately released to Trump Jr.

Trump spent decades fighting with Forbes over the publication’s assessment of his wealth. Last month, he demanded an apology after Forbes removed him from its list of the 400 richest people in the United States.

In the email, Forbes pointed out that the Trump Organization told the magazine that Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower measured about 33,000 square feet, but Forbes cited documents that showed the apartment was in actually just under 11,000 square feet.

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“There is an insane amount of stuff regarding the Forbes investigation,” Donald Jr. wrote to other Trump Organization executives in response to the investigation.

Faherty then showed a letter the Trump Organization had sent to its accounting firm, Mazars USA, which was in the process of compiling the organization’s 2016 statement of financial position.

In the letter, the Trump Organization asserted its responsibility to “present fairly” in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP. Donald Jr reiterated his claim that he relied on Mazars to provide them with the information and that the accounting firm was “intimately involved” in preparing the return.

Donald Jr and his brother Eric are the first family members to testify in the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Donald Trump will testify on Monday and his daughter Ivanka is expected to testify later that week.

James’ investigation found that the Trumps falsified their accounts for decades, inflating Trump’s wealth to obtain loans on better terms.

James calls on the Trump Organization to repay $250 million in alleged ill-gotten gains. The court ruled to terminate the Trumps’ business licenses — a move that would end their ability to do business in the state. That decision is on hold as the Trumps appeal the decision.

Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that the Trump Organization committed fraud. The trial will determine what sanctions it will impose.

In a statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, James said: “Donald Trump lied about his net worth on his financial statements to get loans on much better terms than he should have. It’s so simple.”

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theguardian

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