Trump kid says the darnedest things: Donald Trump Jr. gives guarded, sometimes flip testimony at fraud trial

  • Donald Trump Jr. was well-spoken but guarded during 90 minutes of testimony on Wednesday.

  • He cracked a couple of jokes and protected his father during week five of the Trump civil fraud trial.

  • Eric Trump testifies next, with Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump scheduled for next week.

Donald Trump Jr. spent a guarded, sometimes jokey 90 minutes on the witness stand in Manhattan on Wednesday, protecting his father at a civil fraud trial where New York officials hope to permanently banish the family real-estate empire from the state.

Appearing in a dark suit, blue shirt, and pale pink tie, he was relaxed enough as the center of attention in the crowded courtroom to spin wisecracks even before his testimony started.

"I should have worn makeup," he quipped from the defense table as a half-dozen journalists were briefly allowed to photograph him before he took the stand.

When the judge jokingly asked that he weigh in on a long-standing dispute throughout the five-week trial — how to pronounce the word "revocable," as in the "Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust" — Donald J. Trump Jr. played along.

"REV-ocable is easier" to say, he answered.

"So you were a trustee of the Donald J. Trump Re-VO-cable Trust?" an assistant attorney general, Colleen Faherty, asked him.

"I'm not sure what that is," Trump Jr. cracked. "I'm only a trustee at the REV-ocable Trust."

The younger Donald Trump repeatedly protected his father in fast-paced questioning by Faherty, a lawyer for Letitia James, the state attorney general. James has accused the former president of wildly and repeatedly exaggerating the value of Trump Organization assets in annual net-worth statements to banks and insurers.

Donald Trump, Jr., jokes he "should have worn makeup" while photographed at the defense table in the Trump civil fraud trial in New York. To his right is defense lawyer Alina Habba.
Donald Trump Jr. joked he "should have worn makeup" while photographed at the defense table in the Trump civil fraud trial in New York. To his right is the defense lawyer Alina Habba.Seth Wenig/Pool

In testimony of importance for his father, the son was asked how the company structure changed during the White House years, when the elder Donald Trump announced, in a show of separating his political and business decisions, that he was removing himself from running The Trump Organization.

The son firmly stated, "No," when Faherty asked if his father had any decision-making authority at The Trump Organization during those years, between January 20, 2017, when he took office, and January 20, 2021, when he left.

The AG has accused the elder Trump of continuously engaging in fraud even through the White House years. The timing has statute-of-limitations significance.

Ivanka Trump was once a defendant in the AG's case, along with Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump. But an appellate court removed her from the case over the summer, finding that she had stopped working at The Trump Organization when she joined her father's administration.

The banking and document fraud James alleges need to have been practiced continually since 2013 or 2014, or they become too old to pursue, the appeals court found in letting Ivanka Trump off the hook.

As a vice president at the company, Donald Trump Jr. signed off on many of the decade's worth of annual net-worth statements at the center of the case, statements already found to be fraudulent in a pre-trial decision.

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