Former President Donald Trump boasts about his children following in his footsteps. This week and last, three of the ex-president’s offspring are doing just that—following his footsteps into a Manhattan courtroom to testify as witnesses called by the State of New York in its civil fraud trial.

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump both testified last week, and Donald Trump himself takes the stand on Monday, with Ivanka Trump slated to testify starting on Wednesday. This wasn’t, one imagines, the example the former president was hoping to set.

The case brought by the New York attorney general puts Trump’s business empire at risk. Unsurprisingly, Trump has blasted the trial as a “witch hunt” (just as he has impugned his two prior impeachments, four pending criminal cases, and a variety of other proceedings against him). But with trial judge Arthur Engoron recently having granted partial summary judgment and found systematic fraud, Trump appears to be on the verge of a devastating defeat and is in urgent need of a lifeline.

Unfortunately for Trump, his sons are in no position to help him, and his daughter is likely not coming to his rescue either. And he surely knows it.

Let’s review where Trump stands now, on the eve of his testimony.

In September 2021, following a comprehensive three-year investigation, Attorney General Letitia James filed a complaint with seven causes of action on behalf of the people of New York alleging that Trump committed “staggering” frauds.

The state alleges Trump falsified his personal and business financial statements to grossly inflate his net worth by sums that may range into the billions of dollars. Allegedly, he did so to obtain favorable terms for loans and insurance coverage. Trump, Eric, Don Jr., and Ivanka were all named as defendants, although in June 2023 Ivanka succeeded in having the case against her dismissed because her involvement was outside of the statute of limitations.

This past September, Judge Engoron granted partial summary judgment against Trump and the other defendants, finding conclusive evidence that, from 2014 through 2021, they had materially overvalued Trump’s assets between $812 million and $2.2 billion.

This fraud went beyond sophisticated accounting tricks. Trump and his co-defendants engaged in alleged falsehoods that would make even the most accomplished con man blush.

While exact numbers varied from year to year, Trump and co. claimed that his Trump Tower penthouse apartment was 30,000 square feet when it was actually less than 11,000 square feet—resulting in an overvaluation of between $114 million and $207 million; that 212 acres of land in Westchester County, New York, was worth between $261 million and $291 million when contemporaneous, independent appraisals at times valued it below $30 million; and that his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida was worth between $426 million and $612 million—more than 23 times the appraised market value.

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