Ivanka Trump Takes Witness Stand in Civil Fraud Trial Probing Family Business

Ivanka Trump Takes Witness Stand in Civil Fraud Trial Probing Family Business – Ivanka Trump reluctantly took the stand on Wednesday in the civil fraud trial investigating the Trump family business, despite her initial efforts to avoid it. This trial has seen significant participation from the Trump family, with her father, ex-President Donald Trump, providing contentious testimony earlier this week, and her brothers, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., testifying in the preceding week.

In stark contrast to her father’s demeanor during his testimony, Ivanka Trump remained composed and answered questions regarding her previous role within the Trump Organization. One key aspect discussed was her pivotal role in establishing a lending relationship with Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management division, which ultimately granted the company loans amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

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She also revealed that her husband, Jared Kushner, had introduced her to a banker as they were in the process of seeking financing for the acquisition and renovation of the Doral golf resort near Miami. “I was excited,” she testified, to show the banker “an opportunity that we were very passionate about. The reason we bought the property was because we believed in its potential to be something better than it was.”

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Unlike her father and brothers, Ivanka Trump is no longer a defendant in the lawsuit brought forth by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The lawsuit alleges that Donald Trump inflated the values of his assets on financial statements to secure loans and insurance through fraudulent means. In this non-jury trial, the allegations include conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records. 

Judge Arthur Engoron has already made a significant ruling, finding Trump guilty of engaging in fraud, which has implications for his control over prominent properties such as Trump Tower. However, an appeals court has temporarily allowed him to retain control of his assets. Letitia James, a Democrat, is pursuing penalties exceeding $300 million and a prohibition on Trump conducting business in New York.

The former president, a leading Republican candidate for the 2024 election, maintains his innocence, as do the other defendants. He argued in court that his financial statements underrepresented his net worth, that any discrepancies were minor, and that a disclaimer absolved him of liability, calling the case a disgrace. Before her role as an unpaid senior adviser in her father’s White House, Ivanka Trump served as an executive vice president at the Trump Organization. 

Like her brothers, who still hold the same positions within the organization, she claims to have limited knowledge of her father’s annual financial statements. “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,” she said during sworn questioning for the investigation that eventually led to the lawsuit. 

She claimed not to have knowledge of the individuals responsible for preparing the statements or the methods used to compile the documents. During her tenure as an executive at the Trump Organization, Ivanka Trump was involved in securing loans and leases for a Washington hotel, obtaining financing for the Doral property in Florida, and managing a hotel and condo skyscraper project in Chicago, as indicated in court records.

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In anticipation of her father’s inauguration, she announced her decision to step away from her role at the Trump Organization in January 2017. Subsequently, after her period in the administration, she relocated to Florida. In June, an appeals court excluded her as a defendant in the lawsuit, citing the age of the claims. Her legal team argued that she should not be compelled to testify, contending that the state’s motive was to harass the family by involving her in the legal proceedings.

The attorney general’s office countered that her testimony remained pertinent, given her involvement in certain events discussed in the case and her ongoing financial and professional connections with the Trump Organization and its leaders. According to the state’s legal documents, the company had procured insurance for her and her businesses, managed her household staff and credit card expenses, rented her apartment, and covered her legal fees. Judge Engoron and subsequently, an appeals court, ruled that she must provide testimony.

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