Ivanka Trump set to be state's final witness in her father's $250 million fraud trial

Donald Trump's eldest daughter was dismissed from the lawsuit in June.

November 8, 2023, 5:11 AM

After years of distancing herself from her father's business empire, Ivanka Trump will be appearing in court Wednesday as the state's final witness in the New York attorney general's $250 million civil fraud case against former President Donald Trump and his namesake company.

A former executive vice president for the Trump Organization and senior adviser to her father when he was U.S. president, Ivanka Trump stepped away from her role in the family firm in 2017 and is not involved in her father’s 2024 presidential campaign.

New York General Letitia James initially included Ivanka Trump as a defendant in her lawsuit, alleging she served an integral role in using her father's financial statements to negotiate business deals that reaped her family's firm millions. An appeals court dismissed her from the case in June because her alleged conduct fell outside the state's statute of limitations.

Ivanka Trump similarly tried to get out of testifying in the trial by arguing that she does not have any relevant information about the alleged conduct that is the subject of the case, but James argued the opposite in a filing, writing that Ivanka Trump "indisputably has personal knowledge of facts relevant to the claims."

"They just want another free-for-all on another one of President Trump's children," Donald Trump's attorney Chris Kise argued in court.

Judge Arthur Engoron sided with James and compelled Ivanka Trump to testify, and an appeals court denied her request for an emergency stay that cited the undue hardship of testifying "in the middle of a school week."

Without any legal recourse, Ivanka Trump withdrew her appeal and will follow in the footsteps of her father and brothers to face questions about her family's business empire in a New York courthouse.

PHOTO: Ivanka Trump listens during a rally in support of Republican incumbent senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue ahead of Senate runoff in Dalton, Ga. on Jan. 4, 2021.
Ivanka Trump listens during a rally in support of Republican incumbent senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue ahead of Senate runoff in Dalton, Ga. on Jan. 4, 2021.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

Donald Trump testified on Monday, and her brothers Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump answered questions in court last week as part of James' case that accuses the Trumps of engaging in a decade-long fraud to inflate their assets in order to secure better loan terms and insurance deals. In a pretrial ruling, the judge overseeing the case already decided that the Trumps are liable for committing years of fraud, leaving the trial to determine additional actions and what penalty, if any, the defendants should receive.

Donald Trump and his sons have denied all wrongdoing and have appealed the judge's pretrial ruling.

"This is a case that should have never been brought and it's a case that should be immediately dismissed," Donald Trump said while leaving court after his testimony on Monday.

'I'm not an accountant'

Ivanka Trump denied any involvement in his father's statements of financial condition -- the documents at the center of James' case -- when she sat for a deposition with the attorney general on August 3, 2022.

"I have my own. I've never prepared one. I don't know. I never made one. I'm not an accountant," Ivanka Trump said during the deposition.

Pushed on her involvement with the statements, she equivocated about her father's statements compared to the company's statements.

"Do you have any recollection of your father having personal financial statements?" state attorney Louis Solomon -- who will lead the questioning in court -- asked during the deposition.

"Not specifically," Ivanka Trump responded. "Well, see, I combine them all in my mind, like the statements of the company and, so I, no, not like specific to him."

In court last week, Donald Trump Jr. testified that he signed off on his father's financial statements based on the advice of accountants, while Eric Trump initially testified that he was unaware of his father's financial statements before clarifying his involvement.

"I understood we had financials as a company. I was not personally aware of the statement of financial condition," Eric Trump said. "I did not work on the statement of financial condition. I've been very clear about that."

'It doesn't get better than this'

While Ivanka Trump is no longer a defendant in James' case, her name has reappeared throughout the trial related to loans from Deutsche Bank and a lease she negotiated for a property in Washington, D.C.

James alleges that Ivanka served as a primary contact between Deutsche Bank and the Trump Organization for loans that relied on Donald Trump's statement of financial condition.

"It doesn't get better than this ... I am tempted not to negotiate this though," Ivanka Trump said in a 2011 email, entered into evidence, that she sent to then-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg related to a loan for the Trump National Doral golf club.

During his April 2023 deposition, Donald Trump described Ivanka as critical to the Trump Organization's effort to secure a lease from the government to develop the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C., into a hotel.

"She was very much involved in helping us get it," Donald Trump said.

James alleges that Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump submitted Trump's statement of financial condition when they bid on the project, and even attended an in-person meeting to address concerns about the statements.

According to the state's expert analysis, loans related to the three properties that Ivanka had a role in securing cost Deutsche Bank $143 million in lost interest.

In addition to that allegation, the state's lawsuit claims that despite Ivanka Trump having the option to purchase her penthouse in Trump Park Avenue for $8.5 million, Donald Trump listed the value of the apartment as $25 million in his 2013 financial statement.

Former prosecutor Kan Nawaday told ABC News that while Ivanka Trump might no longer be defendant in the lawsuit, testifying about those deals without implicating herself will be a challenge.

"What she's going to try to do is walk a tightrope through the eye of a needle," said Nawaday. "She wants to make sure that she doesn't say anything that's going to create exposure for herself personally."

"But at the same time, she doesn't want to inflame her father, the former president, or her family," Nawaday said.

ABC News' Matthew Knox contributed to this report.