Donald Trump's eldest daughter no longer a defendant in lawsuit
Ivanka Trump testified Wednesday that she had no role in her father's personal financial statements, echoing her adult brothers about documents central to the civil fraud trial that could reshape Donald Trump's family business.
Testifying as the state's final witness in the former president's civil fraud trial, Ivanka Trump sought to distance herself from the questionable valuation methods that have already been ruled fraudulent by the judge overseeing the proceedings. She acknowledged that she worked on real-estate deals for the company but said she was not involved in calculating Trump's net worth.
She said she remembers a number of things about a 2011 meeting to pitch her family company's plan to redevelop a historic post office into a Washington hotel.
She also recalled discussion of the overall vision and the company's experience, and her father talking up his renovation of New York's famous Plaza Hotel.
But, she told a court Wednesday, she doesn't remember any mention of his annual financial statements — the documents central to the trial that could reshape the former president's family business.
"I don't recall, with specificity, any discussion over financial statements," testified Trump's eldest daughter, who has been in his inner circle in both business and politics.
When pressed on how she could remember talk of the Plaza but not of the financial documents — despite documents showing they'd spurred questions before the meeting from officials overseeing the post office bidding — she explained that "the intention of the meeting was to talk about our vision for the project, so that's what I recall."
With even-tempered testimony that provided a counterpoint to her father's caustic turn on the stand days earlier, Ivanka Trump rounded out a major stretch in the trial.
She periodically flashed broad smiles and at one point thanked a lawyer in New York Attorney General Letitia James' office for bringing up a 2011 development proposal, saying it "brought back a lot of memories."
Her her father testified on Monday; her brothers Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. testified last week.
Unlike her father and brothers, Ivanka Trump is no longer a defendant in James' lawsuit, which alleges that Donald Trump's asset values were fraudulently pumped up for years on annual "statements of financial condition" that helped him get loans and insurance.
Her testimony concluded in the afternoon. Her father's lawyer Christopher Kise said he would ask Judge Arthur Engoron to resolve the case in the defence's favour on Thursday, though he is unlikely to prevail.
Kushner introduced her to banker
Before leaving the company to go with her father to the White House, Ivanka Trump was the point person in establishing a lending relationship with Deutsche Bank's private wealth-management arm.
It eventually extended the company hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, with terms that required Donald Trump to submit his financial statements each year.
Ivanka Trump testified that her husband, Jared Kushner, introduced her to a banker as the Trumps were seeking financing to buy and overhaul the Doral golf resort near Miami.
The non-jury trial will decide allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records — but Engoron has already resolved the lawsuit's top claim by ruling that Trump engaged in fraud.
That decision came with provisions that could strip the ex-president of oversight of such marquee properties as Trump Tower.
However, an appeals court is allowing him continued control of his holdings, at least for now.
Donald Trump denies wrongdoing
The ex-president, who is the Republican front-runner in the 2024 election race, denies any wrongdoing, as do the other defendants.
Donald Trump testifies, repeatedly spars with judge at fraud trial
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Featured VideoDonald Trump testified today at his civil fraud trial in New York. The former U.S. president was often combative, and the judge even threatened to remove him from the witness stand.
He insisted in court Monday that his financial statements greatly underestimated his net worth, that any discrepancies were minor, that a disclaimer absolved him of liability and that "this case is a disgrace."
Ivanka Trump was an executive vice-president at the Trump Organization before becoming an unpaid senior adviser in her father's White House.
Her brothers are still Trump Organization EVPs, and they became trustees of an organization set up to run the company when their father went to the White House.
The sons also have professed minimal knowledge of their father's annual financial statements.
Donald Trump Jr. testified that he dealt with the documents only in passing; Eric Trump said he relied completely on accountants and lawyers to ensure the documents' accuracy.
Left Washington, moved to Florida
Ivanka Trump said she didn't recall ever having provided asset valuation information for the statements or having reviewed them before they were finalized. She recalled being shown "a few documents and correspondence that referenced financial statements, but that was not something I was involved in."
"Those were not things that I was privy to," she testified while being asked about financial statements referencing some apartments in a Trump-owned building on New York's Park Avenue that she had options to buy.
State lawyers contend that Donald Trump was giving his daughter a steep discount on the apartments while claiming on his financial statements that they were worth far more.
Later, she was briefly excused from the witness stand while James's legal team and defence lawyers tangled over the scope of her questioning.
As a Trump Organization executive, Ivanka Trump dealt with securing a loan and a lease for a Washington hotel and financing for the Doral resort in Florida and a hotel and condo skyscraper in Chicago, according to court filings.
In January 2017, as her father's inauguration neared, she announced that she was stepping away from her Trump Organization job. After her time in the administration, she moved to Florida.
An appeals court dismissed her as a defendant in the lawsuit in June, saying the claims against her were too old.
Her attorneys contended that she shouldn't have to testify. They said the state was just trying to harass the family by dragging her into court.
The attorney general's office argued that her testimony would be relevant, saying she was involved in some events discussed in the case and remains financially and professionally entwined with the Trump Organization and its leaders.
"Ms. Trump will do all that she can to try to separate herself from this corporation," James predicted on the way into court. "But she's inextricably tied to the Trump Organization and to these properties that she helped secure financing for."
With files from Reuters
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