A prolonged silence filled the Manhattan courtroom as Ivanka Trump, daughter of former President Donald Trump, struggled to recall specific details about her father's financial dealings during the civil fraud case against him.
In her testimony, Ivanka Trump claimed to have only high-level knowledge of the Trump Organization's financial statements and loans, a stark contrast to the assertive testimony given by her father earlier in the trial.
Ivanka was subjected to rigorous questioning by the New York attorney general's office for hours. Her repeated inability to remember specific documents and emails when confronted about them marked a key point of the trial day. Her claim of possessing only high-level knowledge of the financial details further highlighted the stark difference between her testimony and Donald Trump's.
The former president's contentious testimony had drawn the judge's ire for its political nature. In stark contrast, Ivanka's responses were measured and focused more on high-level visions and project plans than on specific details of financial transactions.
Her memory lapses frustrated the questioning attorney, particularly when she could not recall specifics about an email exchange in 2011 regarding loan interest rates. However, she became more candid when discussing her hands-on project involvement.
The defense team seized this opportunity to cross-examine Ivanka, aiming to underscore the bank's eagerness to retain the Trumps as clients. Currently focusing on penalties, the trial sees the attorney general seeking $250 million in damages.
Ivanka had previously succeeded in having her name removed from the case in June, based on the statute of limitations. A ruling by the appeals court stated that evidence from before February 2016 could not be used against her. Nevertheless, the judge clarified that pre-2016 evidence could still be relevant if it pertained to post-2016 activities.
Despite her name being dropped from the case, the attorney general still called Ivanka to testify as a witness. This development followed a verdict by Judge Engoron in September, finding Donald Trump and his sons guilty of business fraud.
Beyond the financial penalties, the attorney general seeks to ban the former president from conducting business in New York. The outcome will hinge on the testimony of Ivanka and the other witnesses called to the stand.
The cross-examination by Ivanka's defense team sought to downplay her involvement in the alleged misrepresentations of her father's net worth. They painted a picture of a daughter with a peripheral understanding of the organization's financial intricacies, involved mainly in the broader strokes of project planning and development.
However, the attorney general's office appeared unswayed by the defense's portrayal of Ivanka's limited role. During the questioning, their frustration was palpable, as indicated by an outburst from Solomon, the questioning attorney.
"She just spent three minutes describing the Plaza Hotel, how it’s similar to this! But she has no recollection when I ask her a question?"
As the trial nears its conclusion, with the defense expected to wrap up by mid-December, the contrasting testimonies of father and daughter remain scrutinized. The civil fraud trial, which has captured public attention, continues to unfold as both sides present their narratives.