Ivanka Trump on state's witness list in father's NY civil fraud trial

By 
 October 1, 2023

Trial in the civil fraud case brought against former President Donald Trump by New York AG Letitia James is set to commence on Monday, and the state's witness list includes former first daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as a number of other notable figures, as the New York Post reports, as speculation grows as to precisely what she might say on the stand.

Though some believe it unlikely that Ivanka Trump will say anything that would harm her father's interests, others have suggested that there is the potential for real family drama.

Fraud found

As the Post notes, presiding Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron previously determined that the former president, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, and the organization itself are indeed liable for the fraud alleged by James.

Engoron ruled that the defendants inflated the worth of multiple assets in order to secure favorable terms with lenders.

Therefore, the purpose of the trial from this point forward is for Engoron to hear testimony that will aid him in determining the merit of additional allegations raised in the case, including whether the Trumps and the business enterprise engaged in the falsification of documents.

It is in this phase of the proceedings that Ivanka Trump – as well as her brothers and even her father himself – may be called to the witness stand.

Familial discord afoot?

Newsweek cited a series of commentators who suggested that Ivanka's presence on the witness list presents a legitimate possibility for drama, with Donald Trump biographer David Cay Johnston going so far as to suggest that if she were to put a foot wrong, her father would not hesitate to let her know it.

Speaking to CNN's Outfront about the situation, Johnson opined that while he assumes that all Trumps – including Ivanka – would either take the Fifth Amendment or claim a faulty memory of the events at issue, any development to the contrary could prove explosive, indeed.

“If, however, Ivanka testifies in any way that's damaging to her father or her brothers' interests, then Donald's lawyers are going to rip her to shreds and do everything they can to go after her,” Johnston said.

Former federal prosecutor and current trial lawyer Neama Rahmani concurred about the possible fallout if Ivanka chose to testify in a manner unhelpful to her dad and brothers, expressing her belief that if it were to occur, Donald Trump “would probably blast her on social media.”

Unlikely scenario

In the estimation of former federal prosecutor Michael McAuliffe, however, the chances that Ivanka will provide testimony “to her father's detriment is extremely low.”

According to McAuliffe, “She is much more likely to plead bad memory or the fifth amendment to questions even though the claims against her were dismissed based on the statute of limitations under state law,” noting that there is a remote possibility that certain federal fraud statutes could still be applicable.

Regardless of what transpires with Ivanka Trump, however, the trial may still have some headline-making moments, with the former president himself listed as James' “witness No. 27.”

Trump attorney Alina Habba said on Thursday, “If called, he will testify,” and given that he has already publicly characterized Engoron as “deranged” and James as “completely biased and corrupt,” it stands to reason that things inside the courtroom could get interesting, to say the least.

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