Ivanka Trump to Testify in New York Fraud Trial
Ivanka Trump on Wednesday will become the fourth member of her family to testify in a civil case brought by the New York attorney general, offering her own response to accusations of widespread fraud at the Trump Organization.
The attorney general, Letitia James, accused former President Donald J. Trump of inflating his net worth to obtain favorable loans from banks. Ms. Trump, whose testimony follows that of her father and adult brothers, is expected to be questioned about how the former president’s assets were valued.
Ms. Trump was initially a defendant like her father, brothers and the Trump Organization itself, but an appeals court dismissed the case against her. She sought to avoid taking the stand, but the court required her participation.
The testimony will mark Ms. Trump’s first appearance at a trial that threatens the future of a family business she once guided. Although she had been seen as the heir apparent to the family business, Ms. Trump followed her father to the White House, where she became embroiled in his polarizing presidency.
After her father’s election loss in 2020, Ms. Trump sought to distance herself from his company — and his mounting legal problems, which now include four criminal indictments. Ms. Trump also hired her own lawyer, separate from the legal team representing her family in Ms. James’s case, a move that rankled some in the former president’s camp, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
The last time Ms. Trump testified about her father — before a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — it was a major embarrassment for the former president. In the testimony, broadcast at a prime time congressional hearing, Ms. Trump acknowledged that her father had lost the 2020 election, prompting him to lash out at her for being “checked out” in the final days of his administration.
Though their relationship was strained for a time, the two have had something of a rapprochement and speak regularly, the person with knowledge said.
In the New York case, she will appear not as a top executive of the Trump Organization, but as a former employee with intimate knowledge of the company’s practices, albeit one with a highly personal connection to the case.
Ms. Trump played a central role in setting up some of the company’s relationships with financial institutions — particularly Deutsche Bank — and she is likely to be questioned about that, as well as her knowledge of the annual financial statements that are at the heart of the case.
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Ms. Trump’s testimony comes two days after her father took the stand and delivered a bombastic performance in which he assailed Ms. James, a Democrat, as a “political hack” and denounced the trial as “very unfair.” He denied involvement in fraud, but acknowledged a role in creating the financial statements.
Last week, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump testified, seeking to distance themselves from the statements, which they both said were mostly the province of accountants.
Before the trial, the judge, Arthur F. Engoron, found that the financial statements were fraudulent, granting Ms. James a major victory. The trial will decide punishments that Mr. Trump may face. The attorney general has asked that he be fined $250 million and be permanently barred from doing business in New York.
Justice Engoron has barred Mr. Trump from making comments about his legal staff. The former president has twice violated that order, incurring fines that amount to $15,000.