Four things we learned from Trump sons’ fraud trial testimony

Donald Trump Jr in blue suit with pink shirt and blue tie in front of Eric Trump in blue suit with white shirt and blue tie
Brothers and co-defendants Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump wore co-ordinating suits on Thursday

Two of Donald Trump's sons took the stand to deny their role in company fraud this week, and the court in New York saw some combative exchanges and even a few humorous moments.

New York Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled that brothers Eric and Donald Jr, their father and other Trump Organization executives inflated company assets to secure favourable loans, but the months-long trial will determine the penalties the defendants will face.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking a $250m (£202m) fine and severe restrictions on the family business.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from their testimony.

1) Two brothers, two very different styles

Although Eric and Donald Trump Jr arrived in New York court this week clad in nearly identical blue suits and ties, their demeanours on the stand were very different.

The pair, executive vice-presidents at the Trump Organization, were quizzed for hours about their roles in the company and their involvement in preparing financial statements.

Mr Trump Jr appeared at ease, often cracking jokes with the judge and reportedly telling a courtroom sketch artist to "make me look sexy".

Eric Trump, meanwhile, appeared tense as prosecutors grilled him about his ties to his father's financial statements. More closely associated with running the Trump Organization than his brother, he sought to avoid yes or no answers linking him to the financial statements, which left prosecutors frustrated.

The tension was palpable within the first few minutes of his testimony on Friday, when the attorney general's team pressed him repeatedly on whether he remembered a call from years ago about the state's fraud investigation.

"I have thousands of calls a day," he said raising his voice. "I don't remember specific calls."

2) The pair shifted the blame

While the two brothers had a very different style on the stand, their arguments were nearly identical.

They both suggested company accountants were responsible for issues with financial statements, arguing they relied on the experts to prepare them.

"I leave it to my accountants," Mr Trump Jr said during his first few hours of testimony.

"I didn't work on a statement of financial condition," his brother said just hours later. "I've been very, very clear about that."

That strategy seemed less effective for Eric Trump, as prosecutors pulled up emails that indicated he had agreed in the past to provide financial information about properties to help with his father's annual statements.

The result was several tense hours of testimony as he tried his best to evade yes or no questions.

Donald Trump in blue suit with blue tie, Eric Trump in grey suit.
Former President Donald Trump, pictured here with Eric Trump at the courthouse, did not attend court when his sons and co-defendants testified

3) Trump lawyers feuded with the judge

Some of the most contentious moments came when Trump family lawyers argued with Judge Engoron.

Sparks started to fly on Thursday, when lawyer Christopher Kise accused the judge and his law clerk of bias.

Mr Engoron argued there might be "a bit of misogyny" behind Mr Kise's attacks on his female law clerk.

The judge's remarks did not sit well with Mr Kise who said he was not a misogynist. "I'm very happily married and I have a 17-year-old daughter," he said.

The argument spilled over into Friday's court session, with Mr Engoron and Mr Kise going back and forth about alleged bias.

The attorney general's team chimed in, too, arguing that complaints from the Trump team were a distraction tactic.

And shortly after proceedings closed on Friday, Mr Engoron expanded a gag order on Donald Trump that prevents him from speaking about court staff so that it applied to his lawyers too.

4) Trump is watching closely

Although Donald Trump did not attend this week, his presence was felt and his opinion was made clear in a flurry of social media posts during proceedings.

He took to Truth Social on Thursday to defend his "very good children".

"So sad to see my sons being PERSECUTED in a political Witch Hunt," he wrote in one post. In another he criticised the judge.

Mr Trump was in Dallas and Houston, Texas for campaign events with various state leaders this week. But he will return to New York to take the witness stand on Monday morning.

His daughter, Ivanka Trump, meanwhile, is expected to make an appearance in court after her father.

She argued in an appeal that she had moved away from the state and the family business, but this was rejected.

So, while she is not a co-defendant, she too is expected to take the stand next week.