As the high-profile $250 million civil fraud case involving the Trump family and their business empire approaches its pivotal moments, Eric Trump is set to testify as a defense witness this Wednesday. This crucial development in the trial, which has been closely followed by the media and public alike, marks a significant phase as the Trump Organization's operations since 2017 have been primarily overseen by Eric Trump during his father's presidency.
In what appears to be the final stages of the trial, Donald Trump, the former President, is anticipated to be the concluding defense witness next week. This schedule was confirmed by Chris Kise, the attorney representing Donald Trump, who indicated that the former president might attend the trial on Thursday.
Trial's Critical Phase
The trial has seen a fierce legal battle between the Trumps and the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. The prosecution is expected to present a concise rebuttal with two witnesses on Tuesday, following which both parties will submit their legal arguments to Judge Arthur Engoron.
The case is set for closing arguments on January 11th, with Judge Engoron planning to deliver a written verdict in the following weeks. The stakes are high for the Trump family and their business, with potential damages amounting to $250 million.
Judge Engoron's pretrial ruling already found evidence of repeated fraudulent activities by Trump and suggested dissolving several of his New York-based limited liability companies. Since the trial's commencement on October 2nd, the defense has been challenging the AG's claims that Trump's financial statements significantly inflated the value of various properties.
Defense strategies have included testimonies from Trump employees, real estate experts, and bankers, highlighting the subjective nature of property valuations. Donald Trump Jr., who co-managed the Trump Organization with Eric, was the first defense witness to provide a detailed account of their property portfolio.
Eric Trump's Crucial Testimony
Eric Trump's testimony, anticipated to last the entire day, follows his earlier appearance as a witness for the AG's office. Previously, he faced intense questioning over his involvement with the company’s financial statements, leading to revelations about his email correspondences dating back to 2012.
This time, however, Eric Trump's questioning will be led by his attorney, Cliff Robert, followed by cross-examination. The trial will continue with an accounting expert's testimony, setting the stage for Donald Trump's much-awaited testimony on Monday.
Trump's previous court appearance in November was marked by contentious exchanges, criticizing both AG James and Judge Engoron. A gag order under appeal restricts Trump from making public statements about court staff following his social media comments about the judge's law clerk.
The gag order, temporarily stayed last month, was reinstated after increased threats against the clerk. The Trump legal team's efforts to challenge the gag order and its stays have been unsuccessful, and the issue remains unresolved as Donald Trump prepares for his testimony.
This legal saga has captivated national attention and sparked debates about judicial fairness and the role of public figures in legal proceedings. In voicing concerns about the gag order's impact, Chris Kise highlighted the unusual nature of a presidential candidate being restricted from discussing their trial, underscoring the case's unique and controversial aspects.