Judge Orders Ivanka Trump to Testify in Father’s Trial

Judge Orders Ivanka Trump to Testify in Father’s Trial
Ivanka Trump, first daughter and senior adviser to President Donald Trump, listens during a roundtable in the State Dining Room of the White House on May 18, 2020. (Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images)
Catherine Yang

On Friday, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron decided that Ivanka Trump will be required to testify in the trial against her father and other Trump Organization executives, including her brothers Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

Ivanka Trump had originally been a co-defendant in the case until an appeals court decision this summer set a statute of limitations on the case. Having left the company in 2016, Ivanka Trump was then dismissed from the case.

She remained on the witness list, however, and on Friday Justice Engoron said her dismissal shouldn’t mean she is exempt from having to testify.

“Ms. Trump has clearly availed herself of the privilege of doing business in New York,” Engoron said Friday, according to The Associated Press.

Her testimony will be scheduled in November, and her lawyers will have time to appeal the decision.

President Trump and his adult sons are also expected to testify in the case.

Ivanka Trump’s attorneys had argued that she is not a party in the case, nor a New York resident.

“It is black-letter law that, given those two facts, Ms. Trump is beyond the jurisdiction of this Court,” they wrote.

Attorneys representing the defendants had also opposed calling her as a witness, filing a motion to quash the subpoena.

“The NYAG has not articulated why it needs trial testimony from the specific entities it subpoenaed, let alone via a non-party, non-domiciliary designee of the NYAG’s choosing,” the filing read. “As an initial matter, the NYAG simply seeks herein to continue to harass and burden President Trump’s daughter long after the First Department mandated she be dismissed from the case.”

They argued the attorney general’s office had a year to depose Ivanka Trump and did not do so, and claimed that, unhappy with the appeals court decision, they sought to “drag” her back into the case via subpoena.

“There is simply no defensible reason why she has waited until after she certified her case was trial-ready, and after trial commenced, to secure testimony she now claims her case depends upon,” the filing reads.


Last September, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued former President Donald Trump, accusing him of defrauding the state by artificially inflating his net worth each year from 2011 to 2021. The petition followed a three-year investigation launched after allegations made by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who took to the witness stand this week.

Justice Engoron had already ruled in a pretrial summary judgment that President Trump indeed inflated his net worth, and the trial will require the prosecutors to prove out the rest of their case, after which Justice Engoron will determine what President Trump has to pay in damages.

The judge has already ordered the dissolution of the Trump Organization and its related companies, but the decision has been paused, not reversed, by an appeals court. Ms. James had not requested the disgorgement of the Trump Organization in her lawsuit; the petition asked for relief in the form of $250 million in damages and barring President Trump and his adult sons from holding executive business positions in the state of New York for five years.

President Trump has been attending the trial regularly, sometimes up to three days a week, often speaking with reporters during breaks to give an update about the case. He maintains that he is innocent of wrongdoing and that the case is politically motivated, describing it as a “witch hunt” and “election interference” in public remarks.

At the center of the case are the statements of financial condition (SFC) for the Trump Organization from 2011 to 2021, in which Ms. James says President Trump inflated his net worth by up to $2.2 billion year to year. President Trump told reporters that his net worth is actually higher, not lower, than the SFCs, given that his name and brand have substantial added value that was not factored in the SFC calculations.

Several other Trump Organization members, bankers, and insurers are expected to testify in the trial that the judge has estimated will last through December.

Prosecutors argue that lenders and insurers took undue risks due to President Trump’s inflated asset values, while President Trump claims banks were happy to work with the Trump Organization and made money off having him as a client.