The morning session of Ivanka Trump’s testimony in the New York fraud trial ended with a series of objections from her attorney that temporarily had Ivanka sent off to wait in chambers while Judge Arthur Engoron listened to the two sides bicker. Despite this, most of the morning was spent with Ivanka responding to documents, answering questions, and generally being a more cooperative witness than her father and her brothers.
Donald Trump spent his testimony on Monday railing against Engoron, attacking New York Attorney General Letitia James, and sneering about the injustice of it all. But Ivanka smiled at the prosecutors, laughed along with Engoron’s jokes, and appeared to study documents with the scrutiny of a student taking the SAT—even if her response after many of these high-scrutiny sessions was “I don’t recall.”
Much of the morning was spent looking at two projects in which Ivanka was heavily involved: Trump’s Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Florida and the Old Post Office property in Washington, D.C. But it wasn’t the value of either of these properties that was in question. It was how Trump obtained financing. And the answer to that may be the most devastating set of questions and answers of the whole trial.
The key takeaway from Ivanka’s first three hours in court had to do with how Trump secured those infamous loans from Deutsche Bank.
At the start of the day, state attorney Louis Solomon showed Ivanka a series of documents related to her early efforts to secure financing for Doral. While these documents earned their share of “I don’t recall,” they clearly showed that Ivanka had approached one bank after another to find a line of cash to purchase the property. But every one of those banks had turned the project down, usually in the early stages.
Then Jared Kushner put Ivanka in touch with Rosemary Vrablic at Deutsche Bank. Vrablic wasn’t in the commercial real estate area. She worked in the “private wealth management group,” where Deutsche makes special deals for very special people with very special wealth.
After a single meeting, Vrablic offered to not only finance the Doral project but also to do so at a rate that was 6% lower than what Trump would have paid for a commercial loan. However, that deal was contingent on two things: An agreement that Trump kept his net worth above $2.5 billion and that he provide them with accurate annual statements of financial condition.
Trump made that arrangement and was given the money at the prime rate. He not only got Doral but also saved millions in interest.
However, the state has already shown that Trump’s statement of financial condition was fraudulent. Their calculations also put Trump’s net worth well below the $4 billion he claimed at the time. That’s why Trump spent much of his Monday testimony insisting that the bank didn’t care about his statement of financial condition. He was trying to avoid exactly the situation the state proved while questioning Ivanka.
Overall, the Wednesday morning testimony was devastating to Trump. It showed that multiple deals had been utterly dependent on statements he had provided which misrepresented his financial position, and that he had directly benefited from this misrepresentation by getting a lower rate of interest.
Ivanka may be smiling, but she’s not facing any consequences from this trial. None of those with their names still on the lawsuit are going to be happy at the end of the day.
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