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Ivanka Trump testifies she wasn’t involved in documents central to her father’s civil fraud trial

Before leaving the company to go to the White House, Ivanka Trump was the point person in establishing a lending relationship with Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management arm

Ivanka Trump (C), daughter of former US President Donald J. Trump, walks to the courtroom following a break from her appearance as a witness in the ongoing civil fraud trial being litigated at New York State Supreme Court in New York, New York, USA, 08 November 2023
Ivanka Trump walks to the courtroom following a break from her appearance as a witness in the civil fraud trial being litigated at New York State Supreme Court in New York, 08 November 2023.JUSTIN LANE (EFE)

Ivanka Trump testified Wednesday that she had no role in her father’s personal financial statements, echoing her adult brothers about documents central to the civil fraud trial that could reshape Donald Trump’s family business.

The former president’s elder daughter, who has been in his inner circle in both business and politics, rounds out a major stretch in the trial. Her father took the stand on Monday, and her brothers Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. testified last week.

Unlike her father and brothers, Ivanka Trump is no longer a defendant in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit. It alleges that Donald Trump’s asset values were fraudulently pumped up for years on annual “statements of financial condition” that helped him get loans and insurance.

“I wasn’t involved in his statement of financial condition,” Ivanka Trump, a former executive vice president at the family’s Trump Organization, told the court during even-tempered testimony that provided a counterpoint to her father’s caustic turn on the stand. She said she didn’t recall ever having provided asset valuation information for the statements or having reviewed them before they were finalized.

Before leaving the company to go with her father to the White House, Ivanka Trump was the point person in establishing a lending relationship with Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management arm. It eventually extended the company hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, with terms that required Donald Trump to submit his financial statements each year.

Ivanka Trump testified that her husband, Jared Kushner, introduced her to a banker as the Trumps were seeking financing to buy and overhaul the Doral golf resort near Miami.

The non-jury trial will decide allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records — but Judge Arthur Engoron already has resolved the lawsuit’s top claim by ruling that Trump engaged in fraud. That decision came with provisions that could strip the ex-president of oversight of such marquee properties as Trump Tower, though an appeals court is allowing him continued control of his holdings, at least for now. James, a Democrat, is seeking over $300 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in New York.

The ex-president and Republican 2024 front-runner denies any wrongdoing, as do the other defendants. He insisted in court Monday that his financial statements greatly underestimated his net worth, that any discrepancies were minor, that a disclaimer absolved him of liability and that “this case is a disgrace.”

Ivanka Trump was an executive vice president at the Trump Organization before becoming an unpaid senior adviser in her father’s White House.

Her brothers are still Trump Organization EVPs, and they became trustees of a trust set up to run the company when their father went to the White House.

The sons also have professed minimal knowledge of their father’s annual financial statements. Donald Trump Jr. testified that he dealt with the documents only in passing; Eric Trump said he relied completely on accountants and lawyers to ensure the documents’ accuracy.

As a Trump Organization executive, Ivanka Trump dealt with securing a loan and a lease for a Washington hotel and financing for Doral in Florida and a hotel and condo skyscraper in Chicago, according to court filings.

As her father’s inauguration neared, she announced in January 2017 that she was stepping away from her Trump Organization job. After her time in the administration, she moved to Florida.

An appeals court dismissed her as a defendant in the lawsuit in June, saying the claims against her were too old. Her attorneys contended that she shouldn’t have to testify. They said the state was just trying to harass the family by dragging her into court.

The attorney general’s office argued that her testimony would be relevant, saying she was involved in some events discussed in the case and remains financially and professionally entwined with the Trump Organization and its leaders. The company has bought insurance for her and her businesses, managed her household staff and credit card bills, rented out her apartment and paid her legal fees, according to the state’s court papers. Engoron and, later, an appeals court ruled that she had to testify.

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