Former president Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has filed an appeal challenging a New York judge’s order requiring her to testify in an ongoing fraud trial involving her father and his real estate company. Ivanka Trump is attempting to avoid being deposed in the civil investigation led by New York attorney general Leticia James into whether the Trump Organization illegally inflated and deflated property values for loan and tax purposes.
The High-Profile Case and Ivanka Trump’s Involvement
The fraud lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general’s office in September 2021 accuses former president Trump, the Trump Organization and two of Ivanka Trump’s brothers — Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump — of engaging in years of fraudulent financial practices. Prosecutors allege the Trumps provided false and misleading valuations of assets to obtain favorable loans and tax breaks.
Ivanka Trump was initially named as a defendant in the lawsuit. However, in June 2022, a New York appeals court dismissed the claims against her, saying they were barred by the statute of limitations. Despite no longer being a defendant, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Ivanka Trump to comply with a subpoena to testify.
Key Details of Ivanka Trump’s Appeal
On November 3, 2022, Ivanka Trump’s legal team filed an appeal of Judge Engoron’s order requiring her to testify. The appeal contained several components:
- It appealed the judge’s October 27 bench ruling and October 30 scheduling order demanding Ivanka Trump submit to a deposition on November 8.
- It included a transcript of the October hearing where Ivanka Trump’s lawyers unsuccessfully argued she should not have to testify since she lives in Florida, not New York.
- It asserted the subpoena was improperly issued and the judge lacks jurisdiction since Ivanka Trump is no longer a party to the lawsuit.
- It disputed whether the attorney general has the authority to compel Ivanka Trump’s testimony now that she’s not a defendant.
- It claimed forcing Ivanka Trump to testify would be an “abuse of power.”
Arguments from Both Sides on Ivanka Trump’s Testimony
Judge Engoron rejected Ivanka Trump’s jurisdictional arguments, saying she has conducted significant business in New York and is therefore under the court’s authority. However, Ivanka Trump’s legal team maintains the judge overstepped his bounds. They claim the attorney general is unfairly dragging her back into the case after removing her as a defendant.
Meanwhile, the attorney general’s office argues Ivanka Trump has key information as a senior executive who helped manage the Trump Organization’s finances. They say her testimony is critical to obtaining a complete account of the alleged fraud.
What Happens Next?
Ivanka Trump is scheduled to sit for a deposition on November 8. However, her appeal could delay her testimony as the challenge works its way through the courts. The appellate court will decide whether to uphold Judge Engoron’s order or rule in favor of Ivanka Trump’s arguments against testifying.
If Ivanka Trump loses the appeal, she could face fines or imprisonment for defying a court order if she refuses to comply with the subpoena. The legal fight over her testimony highlights how aggressively the attorney general’s office is pursuing Donald Trump in this case.
The High-Stakes Fraud Investigation Into the Trump Organization
The New York attorney general’s office opened its investigation into the Trump Organization in 2019 after Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that the former president inflated assets values. In 2022, the attorney general’s office took legal action, filing the sweeping lawsuit alleging Trump and his company engaged in numerous instances of financial fraud lasting over a decade.
Prosecutors point to what they claim are several fraudulent practices by the Trumps, including:
- Overvaluing properties like golf clubs and Trump Tower to obtain more favorable interest rates on loans.
- Undervaluing properties on financial statements to reduce tax liability.
- Filing paperwork claiming Trump’s penthouse was 30,000 square feet when it was actually 10,000 square feet.
If found guilty, the Trump Organization could face fines, restitution payments or even dissolution of the company. The fraud investigation is running parallel to the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal probe into the Trump Organization’s finances, which could result in criminal charges.
Donald Trump has slammed both investigations as politically motivated witch hunts. However, the attorney general contends there is substantial evidence of financial misconduct requiring accountability. Securing Ivanka Trump’s testimony appears aimed at strengthening the case against her father before heading to trial.
The Broader Trump Legal Troubles Beyond New York
In addition to the civil fraud trial and criminal probe in New York focused on Donald Trump’s business dealings, the former president faces escalating legal scrutiny on multiple other fronts:
- In Georgia, a special grand jury is investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state.
- The Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol as well as Trump’s retention of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
- Congressional committees are probing Trump’s role in the Capitol riot and handling of presidential records.
The intensifying investigations and lawsuits represent legal problems that could carry serious consequences for Donald Trump as he embarks on another run for the White House in 2024. The outcome of the New York fraud trial and Ivanka Trump’s fight over testifying will offer important clues into just how much legal jeopardy the former president potentially faces.
Stay up to date on all the latest developments in the investigations into Donald Trump by subscribing to our daily newsletter. We provide in-depth, non-partisan coverage of these high-profile cases that impact our nation. Check out our other insightful political reporting and analysis for an impartial perspective you won’t find anywhere else.