Ivanka Trump called to testify in New York fraud trial today

By | November 8, 2023

Ivanka Trump testifies Wednesday in the ongoing civil fraud trial against her father and his business in New York, the fourth and final member of the Trump family to testify.

Former President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter is not a defendant in her family’s fraud lawsuit. Evidence presented in court Wednesday indicated that she was involved in at least one deal during her tenure at the Trump Organization, which was facilitated by a document that inflated her father’s net worth. Asset submitted the 2011 financial report, which was supposed to be a snapshot of his wealth at the time, to a bank executive and copied Ivanka Trump, who was negotiating a loan.

Ivanka Trump appears two days after her father testified for four tense hoursrepeatedly attacking the judge in the case and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Donald Trump and two of his sons are accused of a decade of fraud linked to false inflation of his net worth and the value of Trump Organization properties. Ivanka Trump was an executive at the Trump Organization until 2017, when she left to join her father at the White House. She was originally a defendant in the lawsuit, but a New York appeals court threw out the claims against her in June, ruling they were barred by the state’s statute of limitations.

Ivanka Trump’s testimony

Ivanka Trump arrives in the courtroom during the civil fraud trial against former President Donald Trump at New York Supreme Court, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023.

Yuki Iwamura / AP

Louis Solomon, an attorney with the attorney general’s office, opened the testimony by questioning Ivanka Trump about her professional background and her involvement in various business deals for the Trump Organization.

Solomon quickly turned to a 2011 statement of financial position detailing her father’s assets. Trump attached the document in a letter to the then-CEO of Deutsche Bank as Ivanka Trump led negotiations for a loan tied to a golf course in Florida. The judge already found that the statement portrayed Trump’s wealth as much higher than it actually was.

A month later, the bank offered a deal with significantly better loan rates than those previously offered by the Trump Organization.

“It doesn’t get better than this,” Ivanka Trump wrote in an email, forwarding the offer to other Trump Organization executives.

Earlier in the trial, a former Deutsche Bank executive who had analyzed the risk of lending to high-net-worth individuals said the bank had relied, at least in part, on Deutsche Bank’s statement of financial position. this year.

“I assumed that the representations of the value of assets and liabilities were broadly accurate,” said Nicholas Haigh, the executive.

Ivanka Trump said she did not remember sending the email or seeing the letter addressed to the bank’s CEO. The deal included a loan for the Trump National Doral golf course in Florida, one of her two largest projects while working for her father’s company.

She has maintained more than a dozen times that she forgot many details of her negotiations regarding the loans that supported her father’s efforts to purchase the course. Her memories of numerous interactions and meetings, she said, extended only to what James’ office showed her during an August 2022 deposition.

Asked about discussions with her father about the deal, she said she only remembered it because of the deposition.

“I remember you showed me, I think, a letter from my father,” Ivanka Trump said.

And when asked about the negotiations related to the main conditions of the loan, her memory faltered.

“I think it would be difficult for me to answer that question here today, after all these years,” Ivanka Trump said.

One of those cases involved an unsuccessful attempt in February 2016, when Donald Trump was vying for the Republican presidential nomination, to increase a line of credit she had previously negotiated for him. The bank refused, citing his candidacy.

“Ultimately, this was a global corporate decision to maintain neutrality in any political situation and not lend money to a politically exposed person,” one bank executive wrote in a email addressed to Ivanka Trump.

That exhibit and others presented Wednesday were disputed by lawyers for the defendants, who argued it was unclear why Ivanka Trump was on the stand to discuss the loan, since she is not also charged .

Solomon, the attorney in James’ office, said the state has already shown she played a crucial role in a banking relationship at the center of the state’s case against her family.

“She negotiates the deal from top to bottom,” Solomon said.

When asked if her father discussed his financial statements in a meeting with government officials before the Trumps took over ownership of the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., Ivanka said she didn’t. didn’t remember it. She then described several other details of the meeting and what she thought Donald Trump talked about.

The response angered Solomon, and he asked the judge to overturn most of what she had said.

“She just spent three minutes describing the Plaza Hotel – how it looks like this, how her father talked about it, how he talked about it – but she can’t remember the answers to my questions,” Solomon said .

Ivanka Trump was the only one of the four Trumps who testified who was also cross-examined by defense attorneys. They showed exhibits that seemed to indicate that Deutsche Bank was as interested in cultivating relationships with the Trumps and Ivanka as the family was with the bank.

Ivanka Trump described Rosemary Vrablic, a banker who oversaw the bank’s relationship with her family, as someone she aspired to work with.

“She had an incredible reputation after a long career in banking and was considered a very reputable and strong lender,” Ivanka Trump said.

Tensions flared in the afternoon, after the defense and the state argued over the admissibility of defense exhibits. Trump lawyer Jesus Suarez interrupted Ivanka Trump right after asking her about the time two Democratic congressmen invited her to speak at an event about her positive experience with the government.

“You know, I’m glad the government finds it funny of us to present our case,” Suarez shouted, pointing to the state’s attorneys, accusing them of laughing at his questions.

“I want the record to reflect what the government is laughing at, which is destroying this business.”

The Trump fraud case

His two older brothers, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, both sought to blame the accountants working for the Trump Organization for inaccuracies in financial disclosure statements, which were at the heart of the alleged scheme to overstate their father’s wealth by billions in order to benefit from favorable rates on loans and insurance.

Trump himself gave different reasons for these inaccuracies during his appearance on Monday. He asserted a disclaimer regarding the statements, which absolved him and the company of any liability for their accuracy. Trump claimed the statements undervalued his properties, a claim that flies in the face of a pretrial ruling by the judge, who said the statements overvalued Trump’s assets and found the defendants liable for fraud.

James’ office claims the Trumps profited at least $250 million from the fraud and is asking the judge to award the state an equal amount. The judge will also rule on other allegations related to falsifying business records, conspiracy and insurance fraud. The defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

The state is expected to rest its case after Ivanka Trump concludes her testimony Thursday.

The Trumps’ lawyers will begin calling their own witnesses on November 13. They hope to conclude their case by Dec. 15, they said in court Monday.

Correction: A previous version of this story misinterpreted the letter sent to a bank executive. It was sent by Donald Trump, not Ivanka Trump.

Katrina Kaufman contributed reporting.

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