Donald Trump’s attorney accused the judge of attempting to stir up a courtroom “circus” with the ruling
Ivanka Trump, daughter of former US President Donald Trump, must take the stand at her father’s civil fraud trial, a New York judge ruled on Friday. Trump’s lawyers called the ruling “continued harassment of President Trump’s children.”
Judge Arthur Engoron denied a motion by Ivanka Trump’s legal team to dismiss a subpoena calling her to testify in the $250m fraud case against the former president, his two eldest sons, and multiple Trump Organization executives.
Ivanka Trump was a co-defendant in the case until June, when an appeals court found that the claims against her were too old. Her lawyers argued on Friday that her testimony would be irrelevant to the case, as she left the Trump Organization in 2017 and no longer lives in New York.
However, Engoron quashed their argument, claiming that Ms. Trump should have appealed the subpoena earlier, and “has clearly availed herself of the privilege of doing business in New York.”
The case against Trump and his real estate firm was filed last September by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is seeking $250 million in damages and a ban on Trump doing business in the state. James claimed in her suit that Trump committed “staggering” fraud for decades, inflating the value of his properties and companies to banks and insurers.
James was elected to her position in 2018 after promising on the campaign trail to “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions.”
Her case was allowed to go ahead by Engoron, who determined last month that Trump inflated the value of his assets by between $2.23 and $3.6 billion. In his ruling, Engoron valued Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida at $18 million, a figure that Trump claimed is up to 35 times lower than the property’s true worth. Some real estate experts have cast doubt on the methods used by Engoron to discern his figure.
Engoron’s latest decision to force Ivanka Trump to testify has been condemned by the former president’s attorney, Chris Kise. “They just want another free-for-all on one of President Trump’s children,” Kise said. “They want her in the courtroom so it can be filled with media and we can have another circus day.”
The subpoena, Kise said, is an example of the “continued harassment of President Trump’s children.”