Ivanka Trump says at Donald Trump New York fraud trial that she doesn’t recall deal details

Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump testified on Wednesday that she did not recall details of real-estate deals she worked on at her father’s company, in a New York civil fraud trial that threatens the former US president’s business empire.

Like her brothers Donald Trump Jnr and Eric Trump, who testified last week, Ivanka Trump sought to distance herself from the questionable valuation methods that have already been ruled fraudulent by the judge overseeing the trial.

Trump, by contrast, has acknowledged in the witness box that some of the estimates of golf courses, office towers and other company assets were inaccurate.

The lawsuit by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, accuses Trump and his family businesses of manipulating real estate asset values to dupe lenders and insurers and embellish Trump’s reputation as a successful businessman.

Louis Solomon of the New York attorney general’s office questions Ivanka Trump during the Trump Organization civil fraud trial before Judge Arthur Engoron in New York on Wednesday. Courtroom sketch: Jane Rosenberg via Reuters

Unlike her siblings and father, Ivanka Trump is not a defendant in the case.

As a top executive at the Trump Organization between 2011 and 2017, Ivanka said she focused on redeveloping the Doral golf course in Florida and the Old Post Office property in Washington.

At the trial, she was shown a 2011 email in which she acknowledged that a requirement by lender Deutsche Bank that her father maintain a net worth of at least US$3 billion was a problem but encouraged company officials to approve it anyway.

“We wanted to get a great rate and the only way to get proceeds/term and principal where we want them is to guarantee the deal,” she wrote to a Trump Organization lawyer.

New York judge widens Trump case gag order to include his lawyers

The two sides ultimately agreed to set the net-worth requirement at US$2.5 billion, even though her father claimed a net worth of US$4.3 billion that year.

In the witness box, she said she favoured the deal but did not recall specific terms. “I felt generally that the deal terms with Deutsche Bank for Doral were positive,” she said.

She was also shown a 2011 email she received from the federal government expressing concern about irregularities in Trump’s financial statements as the company was proposing to redevelop the Old Post Office, a federal property.

She again said she did not recall specifics. “There were many emails, many conversations,” she said.


Trump gained over US$100 million through fraud, New York says as civil trial starts

Trump gained over US$100 million through fraud, New York says as civil trial starts

Trump, who leads his rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination despite a maelstrom of legal troubles, has denied wrongdoing and accused James and Justice Arthur Engoron of political bias and “election interference”.

He repeated those claims on social media late on Tuesday, saying it was “Sad!” that Ivanka was being forced to testify.

During defiant and rambling testimony on Monday, Trump acknowledged that valuations for his properties were not always accurate but said the errors were not relevant to the financial institutions that used them to price deals.

Donald Jnr and Eric Trump testified last week that the financial documents at the heart of the case were not their responsibility, though emails and other documents showed they may have been more involved than their testimony indicated.

At New York trial, Eric and Donald Trump Jnr say they were not aware of fraud

Ivanka joined her father during his 2017-2021 term in the White House, leaving her brothers in charge of the company during that time.

James said Ivanka nevertheless was involved in manipulating property values.

“She will attempt today to distance herself from the company, but unfortunately the facts will reveal that in fact she was very much involved,” James said on the courthouse steps.

In a ruling that found Trump, his adult sons and 10 of his companies liable for fraud, Engoron described in scathing terms how the defendants made up valuations. His ruling could strip Trump’s control of some of his best known properties, though that order is on hold during appeal.

New York Attorney General Letitia James exits the courtroom for a lunch break during the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump and his children on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

James is seeking US$250 million in fines, as well as restrictions that would prevent Trump and his adult sons from doing business in New York.

In addition to this case, Trump is a defendant in four separate criminal cases, including two stemming from his attempts to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory.

Nevertheless, opinion polls show he holds a commanding lead over Republican rivals to face Biden next year.

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