Ivanka's Testimony In Donald Trump's Fraud Case Is Causing A Stir

On November 8, 2023, Ivanka Trump appeared in court to testify in a fraud case involving her father and two of her brothers. Donald Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr. were all defendants in a civil case in New York's Manhattan Supreme Court. While statute of limitations restrictions prevented Ivanka from also being a defendant in the case, she was also hoping to avoid testifying during the trial. However, she was unable to be excused. 

Presiding Judge Arthur F. Engoron already ruled on September 26 that the defendants are guilty of fraud. Now the trial is seeking to determine the penalty for these actions, which could include $250 million in damages, as well as preventing the Trump Organization from participating in real estate transactions and business loans in New York for five years. An additional consequence could bar Trump and his sons from overseeing any business in the state forever.  

For five hours, Ivanka answered questions about her role in procuring loans for her father's company. Unlike Trump's loss of his courtroom cool, Ivanka smiled while she tried to focus on praising the work of the Trump Organization. In addition, Ivanka asserted that she did not have access to certain documents or monetary information. While she believed Trump would possess these financial statements, she said on the witness stand, "Those weren't things that I was privy to," (via The New York Times). However, she was also presented with court-obtained documents that showed her communicating with bank lenders.

Ivanka claimed a lack of involvement in Trump financial activities

During her testimony in Donald Trump's civil fraud case, Ivanka Trump denied having info about numerous financial meetings and accompanying business dealings.  While she endeavored to disassociate herself from her family's business activities, Ivanka couldn't hide her tension even when she laughed or smiled during those difficult moments of questioning.

Conflict occurred when the court produced correspondence from 2011 where, in a message to Deutsche Bank, Ivanka wrote that she would be including a financial statement.  Further documentation between Ivanka and Deutsche Bank detailed a compromise for lowering the stipulation of her father's net worth to $2.5 billion. This figure was vastly different from another 2011 statement that declared Donald Trump's net worth as $4.2 billion. Specifics about Trump's assets are part of the central argument in the case. The fraud charges brought by Letitia James, New York's attorney general, claim that asset values were manipulated in the pursuit of more advantageous loans.

Besides these differences, another email with Deutsche Bank included Ivanka praising her contact for providing the Trump business with a lower interest rate for some potential loans. In addition, the attorney general asserts that fraud occurred because lenders didn't receive vast sums of money that they would have been entitled to if the loan paperwork had been filed with accurate info. 

Some of Ivanka's answers were overly elaborate

While she was on the witness stand, Ivanka Trump's answers varied between succinct and long-winded. Frequently she answered, "I don't recall," (via the New York Post) when questioned about financial details. In contrast, state lawyer Louis Solomon seemed angry when Ivanka gave elaborate depictions of the amenities available at Trump hotels yet she couldn't recollect whether financial statements came up at a particular meeting.  

In addition, Judge Arthur F. Engoron also felt Ivanka could have been more concise in some of her responses. For example, Ivanka said, "I thought generally the deal terms were positive and we proceeded forward," when asked about a Deutsche Bank loan for Trump's Doral golf course. "That could've been a simple yes," Engoron commented (via The Telegraph). Ivanka also went into detail to set the scene about what was happening to her personally during 2011 business transactions involving the Doral resort. She mentioned how a particular phone call took place concurrent with her daughter Arabella's birth, equivocating whether or not she was at the hospital during that conversation.

When assessing the believability of Ivanka's testimony, New York Attorney General Letitia James asserted that it stood in contrast to the documents presented during the case. James claimed that, despite Ivanka's efforts to distance herself from her dad and his company, she still played a significant role in her family's business.