Ivanka Trump testifies in family’s business fraud trial

November 8, 2023

Ivanka Trump, daughter of the former President, was testifying in her family’s business fraud trial in Manhattan on Wednesday.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is suing former President Trump, his companies and its officers including Trump’s two adult sons over allegations of more than 200 instances bank, tax and insurance fraud over a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021.

According to journalists in the courtroom, Ms. Trump appeared to be choosing her words carefully when answering questions from prosecutors for the state—in marked contrast to her father’s testimony Monday which was combative at times. 

A constant theme of Ivanka Trump’s testimony, according to BBC reporter Chloe Kim, has been to answer, when shown documents and emails linked to her, either that she doesn’t recall or to say vaguely, “it appears so.” She has also been asking to read the documents more than other witnesses had.

Ivanka Trump is the last of her family who’ve been ordered to testify. James said on Monday afternoon, after former President Trump testified, that she would be wrapping her case after Ivanka Trump’s testimony.

Ms. Trump’s brothers, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, testified last week. Both are named in the lawsuit as defendants. During their separate testimonies, each brother admitted that he signed off on financial documents, but both argued that they had no reason to question the financial statements because they were prepared by the Trump Organization’s accountants. 

Ivanka Trump was also initially named as a defendant, but in June a New York State appeals court dismissed all charges against her, ruling that statutes of limitations prevented James from suing over transactions that occurred before July 13, 2014, or February 6, 2016, depending on the defendant—adding that all claims against Ivanka Trump were too old to be included the lawsuit.

However, Ms. Trump’s legal team’s attempt last week to prevent her from testifying during a “school week” was rejected by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

While an executive at the Trump Organization, Ivanka Trump ran point on the establishment of the Trump Hotel at the Old Post Office building in Washington DC—one of the company’s landmark properties.

Back in 2020 Ms. Trump sat for a deposition in a separate case regarding her father’s inauguration fund, during which she was asked about the role of former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who has pleaded guilty to 15 felonies surrounding his actions at the company.

“He is the—I would have to see what his, his—I don’t know his exact title but he’s an executive at the company,” she responded, according to a transcript of her deposition.

This past September, New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron issued a summary judgment in Trump’s civil business fraud suit, agreeing with James’ allegations that Trump and his company and officers did in fact commit business fraud during the decade in question.

The summary judgment resolved the key claim in James’ lawsuit, but the other claims remain, including the amount of damages that will be levied. The New York Attorney General is suing Trump and the other defendants for $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in his home state. 

The trial could last into late December, according to Engoron.

PHOTO: Ivanka Trump in 2020, per Gage Skidmore

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