Ivanka Trump is scheduled to appear in the New York courtroom of Judge Arthur Engoron on Nov. 8 to give testimony in the ongoing fraud trial against the Trump Organization. Since she was not a trustee of the company during the period covered by the trial, Ivanka isn’t facing any personal consequences. She’s just being called as one of multiple witnesses who have insider knowledge of how the whole scheme to manipulate the value of Donald Trump’s properties worked. Ivanka was named as a central point of contact in the case because she helped to negotiate multiple loans that were based on inflated property valuations.
But Ivanka doesn’t want to testify. So on Thursday, she filed another appeal of Enrogon’s order for her to appear in court. That appeal included a touching argument from Ivanka’s attorneys saying, “Ms. Trump, who resides in Florida with her three minor children, will suffer undue hardship if a stay is denied and she is required to testify at trial in New York in the middle of a school week.”
Yes. Ivanka Trump was asked to testify in the middle of a school week. Despite this horrific imposition, CNN reports that the appeals court has already moved to deny Ivanka’s motion to stay her testimony. Will no one think of the children? Or the nannies.
In her 2017 book, “Women Who Work,” Ivanka makes just one mention of having a nanny, saying that some of the best pictures she has of her children were taken by the nanny. To this thought, she adds a small addendum: “I’m sure in ten years I’ll convince myself I took them!”
It hasn’t been quite 10 years, but apparently Ivanka has convinced herself that her material presence is so necessary that she can’t hire a babysitter for the day so she can obey a subpoena. Can’t they pencil in her court appearance for, say, summer of 2024? She might be able to work them in. No promises.
In 2020, Ivanka gave an interview to People, complaining that she is “exhausted” from the pressures of having three children at home, selling Ivanka-brand shoes, and “running the Trump Organization alongside her brothers.” In that same interview, she does make another single mention of her “trusted nanny” and the fact that her mother-in-law is just two blocks away.
Considering the number of people who don’t happen to be insanely wealthy and pampered who are required to make court appearances without the benefits of staff or extended family, it’s hard to think of Ivanka’s appeal as anything other than a privileged whine channeled through an attorney. It would seem that if she could trust her nanny to care for the kids while she peddles shoes, she might also give some of that trust so she can take care of testifying about that other thing. The “running the Trump Organization alongside her brothers.”
That Ivanka herself isn’t one of those facing potential fines and penalties from this trial is only a matter of timing. The grand jury reportedly heard evidence of her involvement in the value-fixing schemes, but she was not charged because her potential crimes were outside the statute of limitations for fiscal malfeasance in New York.
So the worst thing that will happen to her is some potentially unflattering photos strolling into the courtroom and some uncomfortable moments being asked about just what she did while the nanny was at home taking photos of the kids.
On Thursday, those two brothers who Ivanka worked alongside both sat down to answer questions in court. Here's a quick summary of Junior and Eric's day in court on Thursday: Junior spent the morning snickering and shrugging, explaining that even though he had signed all these documents, many of them saying he had verified the numbers included, he never actually bothered to read anything and just trusted his lawyers and accountants to put things in front of his pen.
Eric then tried to follow the same course. Unfortunately for him, prosecutors were ready with a whole string of emails and memos showing that he had been directly involved in inflating the value of Trump's New York properties to the tune of over a quarter of a billion dollars.
Junior's constant playing of the ignorance card is unlikely to help him avoid serious penalties because when you sign onto documents as the person legally responsible, you're legally responsible. Even if you didn't bother to read what you were signing. But Eric may face more punishment simply because it seems like, unlike Junior, he did something in his job other than powder his nose and scrawl his name. Unfortunately, what Eric did was commit fraud.
Prosecutors will likely limit the questions directed at Ivanka to areas that can help in their case against her father and brothers. But it might be nice if they also took a little time to show some of the ways Ivanka was part of the scheme.
It’ll be something for the children to remember.