Ivanka Trump to take center stage in fraud trial after leaving political world behind

Ivanka Trump to take center stage in fraud trial after leaving political world behind

Ivanka Trump is expected to take the stand Wednesday as the New York attorney general’s final witness in its far-reaching fraud case against her father and family’s business.

Former President Trump’s eldest daughter, once described by his Deutsche Bank banker as the family business empire’s “heir apparent,” has all but disappeared from the limelight since her father left office.

When Trump lost the 2020 election, Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, relocated their family from Washington to Miami, opting to also leave the political world behind.

But on Wednesday, her past life as a Trump Organization executive could be put under a microscope as lawyers for the state of New York question her over her role in several Trump real estate transactions and the valuation of her New York apartment, which lawyers say was priced by the Trump Organization at two and a half times the rate she was offered it.

The New York attorney general’s office issued subpoenas to three New York business entities linked to Ivanka Trump, writing in emails to her counsel that her household staffing, credit cards, taxes and New York housing were being paid for or managed by the Trump Organization.

“Ms. Trump, even after her formal resignation, has remained intertwined with the Trump Organization and we believe that she is still amenable to service through that enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General Sherief Gaber wrote in a Sept. 26 email.

In that email thread, Ivanka Trump attorney Bennet Moskowitz called the New York attorney general’s office’s characterization of the Trump Organization’s various payments to the former president’s daughter “beside the point.”

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Ivanka Trump was once a party in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) lawsuit accusing the Trump family, Trump Organization and several of its executives of falsely inflating and deflating the value of the business’s assets to receive lower taxes and better insurance coverage.

A state appeals court dismissed her from the case in June, citing a lapsed statute of limitations. She attempted to evade testifying by arguing last month that James’s office improperly subpoenaed her and lacks jurisdiction because she no longer lives in New York. Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that her dismissal did not preclude her from testifying.

“Ms. Trump has clearly availed herself of the privilege of doing business in New York,” Engoron said while handing down his decision.

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Ivanka Trump appealed “each and every part” of the New York judge’s order, but an appeals court swiftly denied her application before the former president’s daughter withdrew the motion altogether, ensuring her testimony would go forward.

Her testimony Wednesday is expected to focus on several real estate transactions the attorney general’s office says involved misrepresentations, namely the acquiring of loans from Deutsche Bank for the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington and Trump National Doral in Miami.

“On each of those transactions with Deutsche Bank, Ms. Trump was aware that the transactions included a personal guaranty from Mr. Trump that required him to provide annual Statements of Financial Condition and certifications,” the New York attorney general’s office wrote in its initial complaint, referencing the skewed documents at the heart of the case.

Ivanka Trump is also expected to testify to the valuation of the New York apartment she and her husband rented more than a decade ago in Trump Park Avenue. State lawyers claim their rent was significantly lower than other penthouses in the building, with an option to purchase the unit for $8.5 million despite Trump’s financial statements valuing the same unit at $20.8 million.

Before the trial even began last month, Engoron found the former president, his business and several executives — including Trump’s eldest sons — liable for fraud. Trump’s legal team appealed the decision stripping his business licenses and putting some of his iconic properties at risk. The New York appellate division paused the cancellation of Trump’s business licenses until after it hears his case but declined to stay the rest of the order or the fraud trial.

The New York attorney general’s office is seeking $250 million in financial penalties, plus a ban on the Trumps from doing business in New York.

Ivanka Trump’s day in court follows a chaotic day of testimony from her father that followed two of her brothers, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. The three Trump men vigorously defended the Trump Organization’s business dealings while simultaneously putting space between themselves and the business’s financial statements.

The Trump Organization’s statements of financial condition were “not really documents that the banks paid much attention to,” Trump testified Tuesday.

“I’ve been dealing with banks for 50 years and probably know banks as well as anybody,” Trump said. “I know what they look at; they look at the deal.”

Both Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump denied any involvement in their father’s financial statements, suggesting instead they relied on accountants and other experts to make sure the numbers were correct.

Ivanka Trump may not be so quick to cover for the family business.

In Trump’s White House, Ivanka Trump served as an adviser to the president with a focus on “the education and economic empowerment of women and their families as well as job creation and economic growth through workforce development, skills training and entrepreneurship,” according to the Trump White House archives.

But by the time Trump announced his 2024 presidential campaign, after losing the 2020 election to President Biden, Ivanka Trump had put distance between herself and her father’s White House bid, skipping its launch altogether.

“I love my father very much. This time around I am choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family,” she said in a statement at the time. “I do not plan to be involved in politics.”

Some fracturing was apparent in the former president’s daughter’s testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee that investigated the Capitol attack. While Trump continued to trumpet his false claims of election fraud, Ivanka Trump’s eight hours of testimony to the committee revealed that she did not believe the election was conducted fraudulently.

Mary Trump, the former president’s niece and a vocal critic, opined last week that Ivanka Trump might not spring to the family business’s defense as quickly as her siblings and father.

“She’s just going to tell the truth and throw him under the bus,” Mary Trump said.

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