Ivanka Trump’s appearance Wednesday was the highly anticipated conclusion to an unprecedented eight days of witness testimony that included Donald Trump and three of his adult children in the civil fraud trial brought by the New York attorney general’s office.
The AG’s office rested its case after hearing from the eldest Trump daughter, who was pressed about her role securing loans for the Trump Organization and a penthouse apartment she leased from her father.
Her appearance was not anywhere near contentious as her father’s on Monday – there were no fireworks or angry outbursts.
In all, the attorney general’s office elicited testimony from 25 witnesses in its case against Trump, his two adult sons and his business, culminating in the testimony from the Trumps as the final four witnesses. While Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are all co-defendants in the attorney general’s lawsuit seeking $250 million in damages and to bar the former president from doing business in the state, Ivanka Trump is no longer a co-defendant in the case.
Here are key takeaways from Ivanka Trump’s day in court:
AG focused on Deutsche Bank loan negotiations
Ivanka Trump was questioned at length by Louis Solomon, a lawyer with the attorney general’s office, about the financing of loans for the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Florida through Deutsche Bank.
The loans are a key part of the case because they required Donald Trump to submit annual financial statements – and the attorney general alleges those statements were falsified to inflate Trump’s net worth and obtain better loan rates.
The final agreement for the Deutsche Bank loan required Donald Trump, as the guarantor, to maintain a minimum net worth of $2.5 billion.
One earlier draft of the loan terms proposed by the bank required Trump maintain a $3 billion net worth. Ivanka Trump proposed a change to lower the net worth requirement to $2 billion, in an email Solomon showed in court.
At the time, Trump’s net worth on his statement of his financial condition in 2011 was $4.2 billion.
Trump was able to get better terms for the Doral property with Deutsche Bank’s loan secured by Trump’s financial statements because he personally guaranteed the loans with the private wealth management group, which offered the option for a high net worth individual to back the loan.
The Trump Org. was offered different terms through Deutsche Bank’s commercial real estate arm for the same property.
Ivanka Trump distances herself from her apartment’s valuation on Donald Trump’s financial statement
Ivanka Trump said she had no knowledge about why a penthouse apartment she leased from her father’s Trump Park Avenue building was valued on Donald Trump’s financial statement at more than $12 million more than what she was able to purchase it for.
Ivanka Trump had a purchase option on the apartment for $8.5 million, but the value on Trump’s financial statement was $20.8 million, according to the attorney general’s civil complaint.
Solomon asked Ivanka Trump whether the value of her purchase option was factored into her father’s financial statement.
“As I had told you a year-and-a-half ago, I wasn’t involved in his statement of financial condition, so I can’t say what it took into account or didn’t take into account,” Ivanka Trump responded.
In her deposition last year, she said she knew that companies had financial statements, but she had no “specific” recollection that her father had personal statements of financial condition.
“Sure he has accountants who have all sorts of stuff who have all sorts of statement but no, sorry, I don’t specifically know what was prepared on his behalf for him as a person separate and distinct from the organization and the properties that I was working on, so no I don’t know how they did that and who prepared that and the mechanisms like that,” she testified.
Her testimony on the financial statements mirrored her brothers, who also both said they were unaware of the work that was done on Donald Trump’s statement of financial condition, even though they submitted information that was used for preparing the statements.
Discussions between Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner
Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner worked in Donald Trump’s White House as senior advisers to the president.
Before moving to Washington, they were both in the real estate business. While Kushner did not work for the Trump Organization, the couple did discuss work issues.
“My husband also was in real estate and would have perspective for me so periodically we would discuss what we were working on specific to real estate,” she said when asked about the email.
Over an objection from Trump’s attorneys claiming spousal privilege, Solomon asked about an email thread discussing potential funding terms from Capital One for the Old Post Office project, which was renovated and opened as the Trump International Hotel in 2016.
Kushner said he could show the deal to Natixis, an investment bank, because he thought they’d give Trump Org. better terms.
“I don’t remember this exchange,” Ivanka Trump said of the email. “But it is not uncommon that I would ask my husband’s perspective on something I was working on.”
The attorney general’s office rests its case…
Ivanka Trump was the final witness of 25 in the attorney general’s case against Trump and his businesses – 24 of which were in person.
In addition to the Trump family, the attorney general’s office called former Trump Org. executive Allen Weisselberg and Jeff McConney – both co-defendants in the case – as well as other officials inside and outside the Trump Org. who worked on the projects at issue in the case.
The attorney general also heard from former Trump lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen, who testified with Trump looking on that his former boss told him and Weisselberg to inflate his financial statements (Weisselberg testified the meeting never happened).
The attorney general already won summary judgment from Judge Arthur Engoron before the trial began, as the judge rules that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for fraud.
The judge is now considering how much the Trumps will have to pay in damages for the profits they’ve allegedly garnered through fraudulent business practices, including inflating Trump’s worth on financial statements.
The attorney general is seeking to prove six additional claims, including falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements and insurance fraud.
… and now the Trump team gets its turn
Now the Trump team gets the chance to mount its defense for the former president on Monday. Trump’s lawyers also signaled at the conclusion of his testimony earlier this week they intend to file a motion for a mistrial, including referencing the conduct of the judge’s clerk.
The motion is highly unlikely to succeed – Engoron put in place a gag order barring discussion of his staff in response to Trump’s attacks on his clerk – but it will set the tone for how Trump’s lawyers will try to poke holes in the attorney general’s case, both in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion.
Trump’s lawyers offered a preview of their defense in their cross-examination of Ivanka Trump Wednesday, in which they discussed emails where Deutsche Bank was happy to have the Trump Org. as a client.
Their argument is that the attorney general’s complaint has no victim – the banks were paid back. (The attorney general’s office alleges the banks were defrauded out of hundreds of millions of dollars because of the loan rates Trump fraudulently received.)
Ivanka Trump said her family’s vision for the renovation of the Doral golf resort in Florida was shared with Deutsche Bank in the negotiations process for the funding.
“They were quite excited about it,” she said of Deutsche Bank. “They sent teams of people down to tour the property to visit the property and to experience it in advance of our purchase.”
In his testimony on Monday, Donald Trump also previewed the defense he believes his team will put on.
“We will explain that as this trial goes along, this crazy trial goes along, because we are bringing in some bankers, and the bankers will tell you – very big bankers, bankers that dealt with me, and they will explain exactly what their processes were. But these were very substantial bankers, and they will explain what the process is,” Trump said, before he was admonished by the judge for making a speech.
The attorney general’s office, however, filed a letter with the judge asking to be heard Thursday on motions to block several of Trump’s expert witnesses from testifying. Lawyers with the attorney general’s office said several of the witnesses’ testimony relates to issues already resolved by the judge, specifically as it relates to how properties were valued and accounting rules associated with that.
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