Takeaways from Ivanka Trump’s New York fraud trial testimony


Ivanka Trump’s appearance Wednesday was the highly anticipated conclusion to an unprecedented eight days of testimony that included Donald Trump and three of his grown children in the civil fraud trial brought by the New York attorney general’s office.

The AG’s office rested its case after hearing from the eldest Trump daughter, who was pressed about her role in securing loans to the Trump Organization and a penthouse she rented from her father.

Her appearance wasn’t nearly as contentious as her father’s on Monday — there were no fireworks or tantrums.

In all, the attorney general’s office obtained testimony from 25 witnesses in the case against Trump, his two adult sons and his business, culminating in the testimony of the Trumps as the final four witnesses. While Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are all co-defendants in the attorney general’s lawsuit seeking $250 million in damages and to prevent the former president from doing business in the state, Ivanka Trump is no longer a co-defendant in the suit.

Here are highlights from Ivanka Trump’s day in court:

Ivanka Trump was questioned by Louis Solomon, a lawyer from the attorney general’s office, about the financing of loans for the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Florida through Deutsche Bank.

The loans are central to the case because they required Donald Trump to file annual financial statements — and the attorney general alleges those statements were falsified to inflate Trump’s net worth and obtain better loan interest rates.

The final agreement on the Deutsche Bank loan required Donald Trump, as guarantor, to maintain a minimum net worth of $2.5 billion.

An earlier draft of the loan terms proposed by the bank required Trump to maintain a net worth of $3 billion. Ivanka Trump proposed a change to lower the net worth requirement to $2 billion, in an email Solomon showed in court.

At the time, Trump’s net worth on his 2011 financial statement was $4.2 billion.

Trump was able to get better terms for the Doral property with the Deutsche Bank loan secured by Trump’s accounts because he personally guaranteed the loans with the private wealth management group, which offered the option for a high net worth individual to cover the loan.

Trump Org. was offered different terms through Deutsche Bank’s commercial property division for the same property.

Ivanka Trump said she had no knowledge of why a penthouse she rented from her father’s Trump Park Avenue building was valued on Donald Trump’s accounts at more than $12 million more than what she was able to buy the for.

Ivanka Trump had a purchase option on the apartment for $8.5 million, but the value on Trump’s account was $20.8 million, according to the attorney general’s civil complaint.

Solomon asked Ivanka Trump if the value of her call option was included in her father’s financial statements.

READ MORE  George Santos' $500,000 bond cosignatories to be public, judge rule

“As I had told you a year and a half ago, I was not involved in his financial statements, so I cannot say what it did or did not account for,” Ivanka Trump responded.

In her statement last year, she said she knew companies kept accounts, but she had no “specific” recollection of her father having personal statements of financial condition.

“Obviously he has accountants who have all kinds of things, who have all kinds of statements, but no, sorry, I don’t know specifically what was prepared on his behalf for him as an individual separate and apart from the organization and the properties that I worked on, so no, I don’t know how they did it and who prepared it and mechanisms like that,” she testified.

Her testimony about the accounts echoed that of her brothers, who also both said they were unaware of the work done on Donald Trump’s declaration of financial affairs, even though they submitted information used to prepare the declarations.

Discussions between Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner worked in Donald Trump’s White House as senior advisers to the president.

Before moving to Washington, they were both in the real estate business. While Kushner did not work for the Trump Organization, the pair discussed work matters.

“My husband was also in real estate and wanted perspective for me, so we would periodically discuss what we were working on specifically for real estate,” she said when asked about the email.

Over an objection from Trump’s lawyers asserting spousal privilege, Solomon asked about an email thread discussing potential financing terms from Capital One for the Old Post Office project, which was renovated and opened as the Trump International Hotel in 2016.

Kushner said he could show the deal to Natixis, an investment bank, because he thought they would give the Trump Org. better terms.

“I don’t remember this exchange,” Ivanka Trump said of the email. “But it’s not uncommon for me to ask my husband’s perspective on something I was working on.”

Ivanka Trump was the last of 25 witnesses in the attorney general’s case against Trump and his companies — 24 of which were personal.

In addition to the Trump family, the attorney general’s office called former Trump Org. director Allen Weisselberg and Jeff McConney – both co-defendants in the case – as well as other officials inside and outside the Trump Org. who worked on the projects in question.

The attorney general also heard from former Trump lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen, who testified with Trump and watched as his former boss told him and Weisselberg to inflate his accounts (Weisselberg testified the meeting never took place).

The state attorney general already won summary judgment from Judge Arthur Engoron before the trial began, when the judge ruled that Trump and his co-defendants were liable for fraud.

The judge is now considering how much the Trumps must pay in restitution for the profits they allegedly made through fraudulent business practices, including inflating Trump’s value on accounts.

The Attorney General seeks to prove six additional allegations, including falsifying business records, issuing false accounts and insurance fraud.

… and now the Trump team gets their turn

Now the Trump team gets the chance to defend the former president. Trump’s lawyers also signaled at the end of his testimony earlier this week that they intend to file a motion for a mistrial, including referring to the judge’s secretary’s conduct.

The motion is highly unlikely to succeed — Engoron imposed a gag order preventing discussion by his staff in response to Trump’s attacks on his clerk — but it will set the tone for how Trump’s lawyers will try to poke holes in the attorney general’s case , both in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion.

Trump’s lawyers offered a preview of their defense in their cross-examination of Ivanka Trump on Wednesday, discussing emails in which Deutsche Bank was happy to have the Trump Org. as a customer.

Their argument is that the Attorney General’s complaint has no victim – the banks were paid back. (The attorney general’s office claims the banks were defrauded out of hundreds of millions of dollars because of the loan rates Trump fraudulently received.)

Ivanka Trump said her family’s vision for the renovation of the Doral golf resort in Florida was shared with Deutsche Bank in negotiations for the financing.

“They were pretty excited about it,” she said of Deutsche Bank. “They sent teams of people down to visit the property to tour the property and experience it prior to our purchase.”

In his testimony on Monday, Donald Trump also previewed the defense he believes his team will mount.

“We’re going to explain that as this lawsuit goes on, this crazy lawsuit goes on, because we’re bringing in some bankers and the bankers will tell you — very big bankers, bankers who did business with me, and they’ll explain exactly what their processes are. were. But these were very significant bankers and they will explain what the process is,” Trump said before being admonished by the judge to make a speech.

However, the attorney general’s office filed a letter with the judge asking for a hearing Thursday with suggestions to block several of Trump’s expert witnesses from testifying. Attorneys with the attorney general’s office said several of the witnesses’ testimony relate to issues already resolved by the judge, specifically as it relates to how properties were assessed and accounting rules associated with it.