© Reuters. Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s son and co-defendant, Eric Trump, testifies during the Trump Organization civil fraud trial in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., November 2, 2023 in this courtroom sketch. RE
By Jack Queen
NEW YORK (Reuters) -During a break in Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony on Thursday in a fraud trial that could handcuff his family’s real-estate business, he had a request for the courtroom sketch artist: “Make me look sexy.”
The oldest son of the former president had spent the past several hours on the witness stand, trying to distance himself from the questionable financial statements that a judge has already ruled fraudulent.
When he was finished, Donald Jr., the first of four family members slated to testify, paused to banter with courtroom sketch artist Jane Rosenberg, who was on assignment for Reuters.
According to Rosenberg, Donald Trump’s namesake son asked her to produce a portrait that could boost his romantic appeal.
The veteran sketch artist said Donald Jr. also offered an example he thought might be helpful: a flattering courtroom portrait of former cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried not by Rosenberg that has been circulating on the internet.
Donald Jr. said it made Bankman-Fried look like a “superstar,” Rosenberg told Reuters.
The firm-jawed, spiky-haired subject in that picture bears little resemblance to the notoriously disheveled Bankman-Fried, who is now a defendant in a criminal fraud trial that could send him to prison for decades.
“I said, ‘That’s fake,'” Rosenberg said. “It doesn’t look anything like him, doesn’t look anything like Sam Bankman-Fried … and there’s no one in the courtroom drawing that.”
The stakes are not quite as high for Donald Trump Jr., his brother Eric or his father as they are for Bankman-Fried. The civil trial will not lead to prison time for the three defendants, but it could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and could see Trump stripped of control of many New York trophy properties that built his reputation before he entered politics.
Donald Jr. has forged a hard-edged, partisan persona in person and online, but struck a more genial, self-deprecating attitude over several hours of testimony on Wednesday and Thursday, occasionally joking about his lack of familiarity with the details of accounting practices.
Rosenberg has taken heat in the past for sketches of former New England Patriots star Tom Brady that some of the boyish-looking quarterback’s fans said bore a closer resemblance to the Incredible Hulk.