Trump legal news brief: Ivanka Trump set to follow father, brothers on the witness stand in financial fraud trial

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Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of former President , is expected to take the stand Wednesday in the $250 million financial fraud lawsuit that will decide the penalties Trump, his two eldest sons and their family business must pay after being found liable for years of overinflating the value of their assets. Federal prosecutors in Washington, meanwhile, refute Donald Trump’s bid to get the 2020 election interference case against him tossed.

New York financial fraud

Ivanka Trump set to testify Wednesday in New York financial fraud trial

Key players: Former Trump Organization executive vice president Ivanka Trump, Judge Arthur Engoron, Trump Org. executive vice presidents and , New York Attorney General Letitia James

  • After losing her appeal to postpone testifying in the financial fraud case underway in New York, Ivanka Trump is expected to take the stand on Wednesday.

  • Her testimony comes after her father and two eldest brothers all took the witness stand in the case and denied wrongdoing.

  • Initially, Ivanka Trump was a defendant in the case brought last year by James, but an appeals court dismissed the claims against her because they fell outside the statute of limitations.

  • “The allegations against defendant Ivanka Trump do not support any claims that accrued after [Feb.] 6, 2016,” the decision said. “Thus, all claims against her should have been dismissed as untimely.”

  • Since then, she has unsuccessfully tried to avoid testifying.

Why it matters: Trump and his eldest sons were subject to intense questioning from the state over their knowledge of and involvement in the preparation of financial statements that did not accurately reflect their assets. Ivanka Trump, who will also testify under oath, will likely face similar scrutiny. The penalties Engoron could impose in the case could threaten the future of the family’s business empire in New York.

Jan. 6 election interference

Jack Smith urges judge to deny Trump motion to dismiss in election interference case

Key players: Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, Judge Tanya Chutkan, Trump lawyers John Lauro and Todd Blanche

  • In a lengthy motion filed Monday, Smith challenged Trump’s October bid — filed by his lawyers Lauro and Blanche — to dismiss the charges against him, CNN reported.

  • Smith sought to rebuff Trump’s claims that his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election were political advocacy, borne out of genuine concern that the election had been stolen from him. Trump also claimed that his speech — specifically his false, widespread claims about election fraud that he allegedly used to pressure state and federal officials — is protected by the First Amendment.

  • Smith’s motion says Trump is trying to “rewrite the indictment, claiming that it charges him with wholly innocuous, perhaps even admirable conduct — sharing his opinions about election fraud and seeking election integrity — when in fact it clearly describes the defendant’s fraudulent use of knowingly false statements as weapons in furtherance of his criminal plans.”

Why it matters: Chutkan has yet to rule, but many legal experts have said that Trump’s First Amendment argument doesn’t hold water. Trump’s bid to get the case thrown out is his latest attempt to convince a judge to dismiss criminal charges against him. The former president is facing 91 felony charges in four cases in Washington, Florida, New York and Georgia.

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Monday, Nov. 6


Former President Donald Trump takes the witness stand in the $250 million financial fraud lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James that will decide the penalties Trump, his two eldest sons and their family business must pay after being found liable for years of overinflating the value of their assets.

New York financial fraud

Trump takes the stand

Key players: Former President Donald Trump, Judge Arthur Engoron, Trump Org. executive vice presidents Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, Trump Org. CFO Allen Weisselberg, New York Attorney General Letitia James, Trump lawyers Christopher Kise and Alina Habba, N.Y. AG lawyer Kevin Wallace

Live updates:

  • After being sworn in, Trump testifies that he doesn’t think any real estate developer ever lowballed the value of his assets more than he has, USA Today reported. Engoron quickly issues a rebuke, telling Trump not to editorialize: “Mr. Kise, can you control your client? This is not a political rally, this is a courtroom,” Engoron says.

  • In another clash with Trump, Engoron vents: “In addition to the answers being nonresponsive, they’re repetitive,” the Associated Press reported.

  • While Trump downplayed his own involvement in the preparation of financial statements James says were riddled with falsehoods, he did concede he had some role. “I would look at them, I would see them, and maybe on some occasions, I would have some suggestions,” he testified.

Why it matters: Engoron has already found the defendants liable for financial fraud, and the penalties he may impose based on Trump’s testimony could threaten the future of the family’s business empire in New York.

Former President Donald Trump in a courtroom sketch from the Trump Organization civil fraud trial

Former President Donald Trump as he is questioned by Kevin Wallace of the New York Attorney General’s Office in a courtroom sketch from the Trump Organization civil fraud trial Nov. 6. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters) (JANE ROSENBERG / reuters)

  • Engoron warns Kise that if he is unable to keep Trump on topic, he will excuse him from the stand and draw negative inferences.

  • Trump uses these clashes to attack the judge. “This is a very unfair trial. I hope the public is watching,” he says at one point.

  • Wallace asks Trump if he thinks Mar-a-Lago is worth $1.5 billion. “I think between a billion and a billion-five,” Trump says of his private club and residence in Florida.

  • At issue is whether Trump knowingly inflated the value of Mar-a-Lago, which, as a private club, could not fetch such a high price.

  • Pressed by Wallace on the wording on the Mar-a-Lago deed that states “the Club and Trump intend to forever extinguish their right to develop or use the Property for any purpose other than club use,” Trump responds, “’Intend’ doesn’t mean we will do it.”

  • Wallace presses Trump on the overvaluation of his Manhattan penthouse apartment in Trump Tower, the square footage of which was listed on Trump financial forms at triple the actual size. Trump concedes: “The number was too high. They lowered it after that.”

  • But Trump then adds of the corrected filing, “They took 10,000 feet per floor, and they went times three. But they didn’t take out elevator shafts and different things.”

  • That comment drew a bemused response from Chase Peterson-Withorn, the Forbes reporter who interviewed Trump about his penthouse.

  • On the magazine that broke the story Trump had overstated the size of his penthouse apartment, Trump quips, “I have very little respect for Forbes.”

Why it matters: Trump acknowledged that the values of his properties had not been accurately portrayed on financial forms. His testimony was also marked by attacks on Engoron and for disregarding his instructions. Engoron will ultimately decide the penalties in the case.

  • During a lunch break Habba held a news conference where she sharply criticized Engoron, saying, “I was told to sit down today. I was yelled at, and I’ve had a judge who is unhinged slamming a table.” She also went after James.

  • James returned fire in a post to X.

  • After more testimony about the terms of loan agreements with Deutsche Bank, and more Trump attacks on James and Engoron, Trump’s time on the witness stand comes to an end. His own lawyers will not be cross-examining him.

  • At the conclusion of Trump’s testimony, Habba tells Engoron that the defense will file a motion for a mistrial.

Why it matters: Trump’s strategy in his testimony seemed to be to direct attention to what he contends is a political case against him. He repeatedly went after the judge, who will decide what damages the defendants must pay. But after Monday’s testimony, Trump’s lawyers’ announcement that they will seek a mistrial means that they are not content to wait for Engoron’s ultimate ruling before seeking relief.

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