Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

A judge has decided Ivanka Trump must testify in the civil fraud case against her father, brothers, and their family business.

Former president Donald Trump, his sons, the Trump Organization, and some executives, are facing a lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Ms James is seeking at least $250m (£206m) in fines and a permanent ban against Mr Trump, Donald Jr and Eric, from running businesses in New York.

Ms Trump, 41, had previously been dismissed as a defendant in the case, but the judge ruled she must provide evidence despite objections from her lawyers and the defence.

Prosecutors believe her past role in the Trump Organization as executive vice president makes her testimony important to the case.

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(L-R) Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. Pics: Reuters/AP

Judge Arthur Engoron supported the state’s argument by referring to documents that prove Ivanka Trump has connections to several businesses in New York and still owns apartments in Manhattan.

“Ms Trump has clearly availed herself of the privilege of doing business in New York,” Judge Engoron said, adding her testimony would not be scheduled before 1 November, to give her lawyers time to appeal.

Letitia James’ lawsuit claims Mr Trump inflated his wealth over several years in financial statements provided to banks, insurers, and others to secure loans and deals.

Ms James has accused Mr Trump of materially overvaluing assets, including his Trump Tower penthouse apartment in Manhattan, his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and various office towers and golf clubs, and inflated his own fortune by as much as $2.2bn (£1.82bn).

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Ivanka Trump was one of her father’s advisers during his presidency

The defendants deny these accusations. Mr Trump, currently the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has dismissed the trial as a politically motivated “sham”.

The ex-president, 77, and his sons Donald Jr and Eric, are expected to testify at some point. In an unexpected preview, Mr Trump briefly took the witness stand on Wednesday to address Judge Engoron’s questions about an out-of-court remark.

Ms Trump’s lawyer argued on Friday that state lawyers lacked a legal basis to compel her testimony.

“At the end of the day, your honour, they just don’t have jurisdiction over her,” said lawyer Bennet Moskowitz.

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Donald Trump and Ivanka in 2016

In June, a state appeals court dismissed the allegations against Ms Trump, arguing they were too old.

In January 2017, before her father’s inauguration, Ms Trump declared her departure from her role in the Trump Organization. She then served as an unpaid senior adviser in the Trump White House before relocating to Florida after her father’s term concluded.

Read more: Trump fined $10,000 – before storming out of courtroom

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3:21

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“The idea that somehow Ms Trump is under the control of the Trump Organization or any of the defendants, her father – anyone who has raised a daughter past the age of 13 knows that they’re not under their control,” said Christopher Kise, a lawyer for the ex-president.

Mr Kise added that state lawyers “just want another free-for-all on another of President Trump’s children”.

State lawyers contended Ivanka Trump played a significant role in certain events mentioned in the case. They asserted she continues to have financial and professional connections with the family business and its leaders.

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