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  5. Trump fraud verdict takes a swipe at Ivanka, though she was no longer a target in the case

Trump fraud verdict takes a swipe at Ivanka, though she was no longer a target in the case

Jacob Shamsian,Laura Italiano   

Trump fraud verdict takes a swipe at Ivanka, though she was no longer a target in the case
  • Justice Arthur Engoron devotes more than a page of his 92-page fraud verdict to Ivanka Trump.
  • No longer a defendant, she still testified at trial as her father's top loan negotiator.

As the Trump fraud trial's only former defendant, Ivanka Trump is long gone from the case.

But she was not forgotten by the judge, who on Friday said her spotty memory while testifying on her family's behalf was "suspect."

"Ivanka Trump was a thoughtful, articulate, and poised witness," wrote New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, in the 92-page verdict that caps the former president's three-month civil fraud trial.

The $364 million verdict bans her father from running any New York business, including Trump Organization, for three years; her two oldest brothers were hit with two-year bans.

"But the court found her inconsistent recall, depending on whether she was questioned by OAG or the defense, suspect," Engoron wrote, referring to the New York office of the attorney general by its acronym.

Ivanka Trump had been named as a defendant in New York Attorney General Letitia James' original 2022 civil lawsuit, which alleged that she, Donald Trump, Jr., and Eric Trump conspired with their father to fraudulently hike his net worth in a decade of annual financial statements.

Donald Trump's three oldest children once worked together at the Trump Organization. Wharton-educated Ivanka was the heaviest lifter of the siblings.

Once Trump's top loan negotiator, Ivanka used her father's wildly inflated net-worth statements to fraudulently secure $400 million in Trump Organization loans from Deutsche Bank, the AG had alleged, back when she was still a defendant.

She was dismissed from the case last summer, on statute of limitation grounds.

But after several skirmishes over subpoena compliance, Trump's eldest daughter was compelled to take the witness stand, on November 8, 2023.

Her tone cheerful, Ivanka Trump testified she had a great relationship with Deutsche Bank, the bank that state officials say her father tricked out of some $168 million in loan-interest savings.

On Friday, Engoron spent a page-and-a-half of his verdict detailing point after point in her testimony where she implausibly could not remember major discussions and transactions with bankers.

As her father's top loan negotiator, Ivanka Trump had secured more than $400 million in Deutsche Bank loans used to develop his Miami golf club, his tower in Chicago, and his luxury hotel in Washington, DC.

The loans were based on annual financial statements that fraudulently inflated Trump's net worth by more than $2 billion a year, the judge said in a pre-trial ruling from back in September.

The judge cited Ivanka's repeated memory lapses on the witness stand

At trial, Ivanka Trump testified she could not remember an extended discussion with Deutsche Bank from 2011, concerning the financing for the Trump National Doral golf resort in Miami.

"Despite being presented with ample emails and other documentary evidence demonstrating the critical role she played in the negotiation, Ms. Trump professed to have no memory of any of the events of the loan negotiation or the agreed upon terms," Engoron wrote.

There were similar witness-stand memory lapses when she was asked about extended loan negotiations with the bank in 2016.

"Ivanka Trump again denied any recollection of these events, although she conceded she had no reason to believe that she did not send or receive the emails with which she was confronted," Engoron wrote.

Neither could she remember anything about the content of emailed negotiations from 2012, involving a loan for her father's Trump Tower in Chicago.

Ivanka Trump also secured a $170 million Deutsche Bank loan that financed her father's conversion of the Old Post Office property in Washington, DC, into the Trump International Hotel, a magnet for lobbyists during the Trump administration.

Like her two eldest brothers, she received a $4 million profit from the hotel's sale in 2022.

"I don't remember everything," she testified of the financing negotiations.

"She consistently denied recalling the contents of documentary evidence that confirmed that she actively participated in events, even after she was confronted with the evidence," Engoron wrote of Ivanka Trump's Old Post Office testimony.

"Notably, on cross-examination by defendants' counsel, Ms. Trump suddenly and vividly recalled details of the projects," Engoron noted.

The case had hit Ivanka Trump close to home. It mentioned a Trump Park Avenue penthouse that was leased at a below-market rent to Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner in 2011.

The attorney general's office alleged that one of Trump's fraudulent acts involved valuing the Manhattan penthouse at $8.5 million when he offered his daughter and son-in-law an option to purchase the unit.

Trump turned around and valued the same penthouse at more than $20 million in net-worth statements he issued to banks for the years 2011 and 2012.

In cutting her loose from the case in June, a Manhattan appellate court noted that she had stopped working for the Trump Organization in January of 2017, when she joined the Trump administration.

Eric Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., by contrast, were running the Trump Organization day to day, while their father was in the White House.

Donald Trump transferred the company to a revocable trust when he left for DC, though he remained involved while president. He never stopped being the company's sole beneficial owner, trial testimony showed.

A Business Insider analysis found that the law firms representing Ivanka Trump in the New York attorney general lawsuit collectively received $2.3 million from PACs controlled by her father.

It's not clear why the firms received political donor money. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were together worth an estimated $1 billion during the Trump administration, according to their financial disclosures.

A lawyer for Ivanka Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

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