What We Learned From Ivanka Trump’s Testimony in NY Fraud Trial
Ivanka Trump spent five hours on the witness stand on Wednesday, two days after her father testified in a fraud trial that threatens his business empire as he kicks off another run for the White House.
Ms. Trump was the final Trump family member to testify at the trial, which stems from a lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James. Ms. James has accused the former president and other defendants, including his companies and his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, of inflating the value of assets to obtain favorable loans and insurance deals.
The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ruled even before the trial began five weeks ago that Mr. Trump and the other defendants were liable for fraud. He will decide Mr. Trump’s punishment. Ms. James has asked that Mr. Trump pay $250 million and that he and his sons be permanently barred from running a business in New York.
Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing. His attorneys have argued that the assets had no objective value and that differing valuations are common in real estate.
Here are three things we learned during Wednesday’s testimony:
Ms. Trump was presented with documents that reflected her involvement in securing favorable loans for the Trump Organization that required guarantees about her father’s net worth.
But she also tried to distance herself from her father’s financial statements. She testified that she did not know what valuations were included in the documents. At one point, Ms. Trump said of her father, “I would assume he would have personal financial statements” but then quickly added, “Those weren’t things that I was privy to.”
She also testified that she has not been involved in the Trump Organization since Mr. Trump entered the White House. But she spoke glowingly of the work she did when employed by the family business, saying she was “incredibly proud” and that it “overdelivered on every metric.”
Smooth and Sunny
Ms. Trump was a more agreeable presence in the courtroom than her father, who had occupied the same seat two days before.
Ms. Trump was calm and collected. At times, her testimony seemed brochure-like as she praised Trump Organization assets using such terms as “historic redevelopments” and “superluxury hotel.”
Occasionally, Ms. Trump appeared frustrated with the repetitiveness of the questions posed by the attorney general’s lawyer, Louis Solomon. But she smiled rather than scowled.
After court, Ms. James called Ms. Trump “very, very nice” and “very friendly” but added, “At the end of the day, this case is about fraudulent statements of financial condition that she benefited from.”
Justice Engoron had an easier day keeping control of his courtroom compared with Monday’s fireworks when Mr. Trump was on the stand.
But by the end of the day, he began to lose patience as lawyers jockeyed for position. He called a question posed by Jesus Suarez, one of Trump’s attorneys, “ridiculous.”
He also responded testily after an insinuation by another Trump lawyer that the judge ruled in favor of the attorney general more often than Mr. Trump: “You could try to surmise that that’s because of bias, or you could understand that I think their objections have been of greater validity than yours.”
What Comes Next
After Ms. Trump’s testimony ended, the attorney general’s office rested its case.
Starting on Monday, Mr. Trump’s attorneys will present a defense in which they are expected to recall many witnesses who have already testified, and to call their own experts. Mr. Trump’s lawyers expect the trial to conclude by Dec. 15, a week earlier than expected.