Donald Trump Jr asked a courtroom cartoonist to “make me sexy” after testifying in a $250 million fraud trial.
The former US president’s eldest son made the request after spending several hours on the witness stand during a second day of testimony at Thursday’s civil hearing.
M Trump Jr.45, insisted he was never involved in or aware of the financial statements that New York state lawyers say fraudulently inflated his father’s wealth and the value of the family business.
The statements were given to banks, insurers and other organizations to secure loans and brokerage transactions.
Donald Trumphis company and senior executives — including Trump Jr. and his brother, Eric, 39, who are both executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization and responsible for running their father’s empire — have all denied any wrongdoing.
But the presiding judge, Arthur Engoron, has already ruled in favor of prosecution – with the hearing taking place to determine the sentence.
New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking a fine of at least $250 million (£205 million) and a ban on Trump and his sons running a business in New York.
When Trump Jr finished testifying, court artist Jane Rosenberg revealed that he had asked her to create a flattering portrait, telling her to “make me sexy”.
He referenced an image she created of a former cryptocurrency tycoon, Sam Bankman-Fried, who is accused in a criminal fraud trial.
Bankman-Fried was depicted with a chiseled jaw and spiky hair – which Trump Jr said made him look like a “superstar”, Rosenberg told the Reuters news agency.
During his testimony, Trump Jr said he believed his father’s statements were “materially accurate”.
He told the court the former president claimed the documents had “downplayed” his wealth and the value of his assets, including skyscrapers, golf courses and properties.
He insisted that he only processed the financial statements in passing, signing them as trustee and handing them over to the lenders to comply with the loan requirements.
The case is “purely political persecution”
And he reiterated that he had relied on assurances from the company’s financial officials before “signing accordingly.”
Speaking outside the court, Mr Trump Jr said he thought his testimony “went very well, if we were actually talking about logic and reason, how business is done”.
This is “pure political persecution,” he told reporters.
“I think it’s a really scary precedent for New York. Like, before I even have a day in court, I’m apparently guilty of fraud for relying on my accountants to do, wait for it… the accounting. “
Eric Trump also testified Thursday, insisting he had “no involvement and never worked on my father’s financial disclosure statement,” adding that he “didn’t know anything about it, really, until this matter comes to a conclusion.”
“That’s not what I did for the company,” he said, telling the court that his role focused on “pouring the concrete”, that is, building and operating properties.
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On Thursday, Mr. Trump – the front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024 – said on his Truth Social platform that the trial was “rigged” and called it a “miscarriage of justice” and “election interference.”
Both Ms. James and the judge are Democrats.
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Mr. Trump posted: “The Trump Organization is financially strong, powerful, very liquid AND HAS DONE NOTHING WRONG. »
The 45th American president – the only one to be indicted twice – faces lawsuits in five different states across the country, with two separate actions in New York.