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    Friday, March 01, 2024

    Donald Trump's testimony is set Nov. 6 in civil fraud trial as judge says daughter also must testify

    NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is set to testify Nov. 6 in the civil business fraud case against him, following testimony from his three eldest children, state lawyers said Friday.

    It was already expected that the ex-president and sons Donald Jr. and Eric would testify. The timing became clear Friday, when the judge ruled that daughter Ivanka Trump also must take the stand.

    The schedule sets up a blockbuster stretch for the trial of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit. She alleges that the former president, now the Republican front-runner for 2024, overstated his wealth for years on financial statements that were given to banks, insurers and others to help secure loans and deals.

    Trump denies any wrongdoing and has called the trial a politically motivated sham. James is a Democrat.

    Donald Trump and the two sons are defendants in the case, but the state is initially calling them to the stand before the defense begins its case. The defense can then call them again.

    Ivanka Trump was dismissed as a defendant months ago. Defense attorneys and her lawyer contended that she shouldn't have to testify, noting that she moved out of New York and left her Trump Organization job in 2017. The state's lawyers argued that the former Trump Organization executive vice president has relevant information.

    Judge Arthur Engoron sided with the state, citing documents showing that Ivanka Trump continued to have ties to some businesses in New York and still owns Manhattan apartments.

    “Ms. Trump has clearly availed herself of the privilege of doing business in New York,” Engoron said. He said her testimony wouldn't be scheduled before Nov. 1, to give her lawyers time to appeal. Her brothers are set to testify next Wednesday and Thursday.

    In a surprise appearance on the witness stand, Donald Trump ended up briefly testifying Wednesday to answer Engoron's questions about an out-of-court comment.

    Ivanka Trump's lawyer, Bennet Moskowitz, had told the judge Friday that state lawyers "just don’t have jurisdiction over her."

    A state appeals court in June tossed the claims against her as too old. Ivanka Trump announced in January 2017, ahead of her father's inauguration, that she was stepping away from her Trump Organization job. She soon became an unpaid senior adviser in the Trump White House. After her father's term ended, she moved to Florida.

    “The idea that somehow Ms. Trump is under the control of the Trump Organization or any of the defendants, her father -- anyone who has raised a daughter past the age of 13 knows that they’re not under their control,” said Christopher Kise, a lawyer for the ex-president.

    Kise maintained that state lawyers “just want another free-for-all on another of President Trump’s children.”

    State lawyers, however, argued that Ivanka Trump was a key participant in some events discussed in the case and remains financially and professionally intertwined with the family business and its leaders.

    “She is 100% someone who can come in and testify,” said Kevin Wallace, a lawyer for the attorney general's office.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report.

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