Ivanka Trump appeared as a witness in the ongoing civil fraud trial of her father and his business in New York on Wednesday, marking the conclusion of the Trump family’s testimonies.
During her tenure at the Trump Organization, Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of former President Donald Trump, was not implicated as a defendant in her family’s fraud trial. However, recent court proceedings revealed that she had participated in a transaction that utilized a document exaggerating her father’s net worth. This particular deal involved the submission of a 2011 financial statement, intended to provide an overview of his assets during that period, to a bank executive. Notably, Ivanka Trump, who was actively involved in loan negotiations, was copied on this correspondence.
Ivanka Trump is scheduled to make an appearance just two days after her father’s intense four-hour testimony, during which he repeatedly criticized the judge overseeing the case and New York Attorney General Letitia James. The Trump family is facing allegations of fraud spanning a decade, which involves the false inflation of Donald Trump’s net worth and the value of Trump Organization properties. Ivanka Trump, who was an executive at the organization until 2017, was initially named as a defendant in the lawsuit. However, a New York appellate court dismissed the claims against her in June, citing the state’s statute of limitations.
Ivanka Trump’s testimony
At the commencement of the testimony, Ivanka Trump was questioned by Louis Solomon, a lawyer representing the attorney general’s office, regarding her professional background and participation in diverse business transactions of the Trump Organization.
Solomon expeditiously shifted her focus towards a financial report from 2011, which outlined her father’s assets. Enclosed within a letter addressed to the former CEO of Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump presented this document while his daughter, Ivanka Trump, spearheaded negotiations for a loan pertaining to a golf course in Florida. The judge has already determined that this statement inaccurately depicted Trump’s wealth as significantly greater than its true value.
Ivanka Trump forwarded an email to other executives of the Trump Organization, stating that the bank had offered a deal with much better loan rates than the previous one, a month later.
During the trial’s earlier stages, Nicholas Haigh, a former Deutsche Bank executive responsible for assessing risk associated with loans to high-net-worth individuals, testified that the bank partially relied on the statement of financial condition for that particular year. Haigh expressed his belief that the representations of asset and liability values were generally accurate.
During an August 2022 deposition, Ivanka Trump claimed that she had forgotten many of the details related to loans that supported her father’s acquisition of the Trump National Doral golf course in Florida, one of her two major projects while working for his company. Despite being shown information by James’ office, she maintained that she did not recall sending the email or seeing the letter to the bank CEO. In fact, she reiterated this statement more than a dozen times.
Ivanka Trump recollected that she only remembered the discussions with her father regarding the deal due to the deposition. She mentioned that her father had shown her a letter, but her memory faltered when asked about negotiations concerning crucial loan terms. Ivanka Trump stated that it would be challenging for her to answer that question at present, given the considerable time that has passed.
During February 2016, when Donald Trump was competing for the Republican presidential nomination, there was an unsuccessful attempt to enhance a credit line that Ivanka Trump had previously negotiated for him. However, the bank declined this request, citing his candidacy as the reason.
In an email to Ivanka Trump, a bank executive explained that the decision was ultimately based on the global corporate policy of maintaining neutrality towards any political situation and refraining from lending money to individuals with significant political exposure.
On Wednesday, lawyers representing the defendants challenged the authenticity of the presented exhibits, including the one where Ivanka Trump discussed the loan. They argued that it was unclear why she was testifying about the loan since she was not a defendant in the case.
Solomon, the attorney representing James’ office, affirmed that the state had already established her indispensable role in a pivotal banking association that formed the crux of the state’s case against her family.
According to Solomon, she is actively engaged in overseeing every aspect of the negotiation process.
When questioned about whether her father had discussed his financial records during a meeting with government officials prior to the Trumps assuming control of the Old Post Office property in Washington, D.C., Ivanka expressed her inability to recollect. However, she proceeded to provide intricate details about the meeting and divulged the topics discussed by Donald Trump.
This response provoked Solomon’s displeasure, leading him to request the judge to expunge a significant portion of her statement.
Solomon expressed his frustration as he recounted the incident where the individual in question, after passionately elaborating on the Plaza Hotel for three minutes, seemed to conveniently forget any details when asked a direct question.
Out of the four Trumps who testified, Ivanka Trump was the sole individual who faced cross-examination from the defense’s legal team. During this process, the defense presented exhibits that seemingly suggested Deutsche Bank’s keen interest in fostering a relationship with both the Trump family and Ivanka herself.
Ivanka Trump, in her testimony, spoke highly of Rosemary Vrablic, a banker responsible for overseeing the bank’s association with her family. Ivanka expressed her admiration for Vrablic, citing her impressive reputation and extensive experience in the banking industry, which positioned her as a trustworthy and reliable lender.
In the afternoon, tempers flared as the defense and state engaged in a heated debate regarding the admissibility of defense exhibits. Jesus Suarez, the attorney representing Trump, abruptly interrupted Ivanka Trump’s testimony, specifically when she was questioned about her involvement in an event organized by two Democratic congressmen, where she shared her positive experiences with the government.
Expressing his frustration, Suarez raised his voice, emphasizing that he found it disconcerting that the government seemed to find amusement in their efforts to present their case. He pointed accusingly at the state’s attorneys, alleging that they were laughing at his line of questioning.
“I would like to make it clear on the record that the government is present here, seemingly amused by their endeavors to dismantle this company.”