File photo of Ivanka Trump, businesswoman and daughter of former US President Donald Trump, during a press conference, in Washington, US, October 25, 2017. EFE/SHAWN THEW

Judge rules Ivanka Trump must testify in fraud trial against father and brothers

New York, USA, Oct 27 (EFE) – Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of former President Donald Trump, will have to testify in the Trump Organization fraud trial against her father and two brothers, the judge presiding over the case ruled Friday.

Ivanka worked at the Trump company until January 2017, and was initially a defendant in the case but was later removed by an appeals court and then added to the New York District Attorney’s list of potential witnesses at the start of the trial.

The former executive’s lawyers had sought to keep her from testifying, arguing that prosecutors had no jurisdiction over her and that she no longer lived in New York, but the judge, Arthur Engoron, denied their request on Friday.

“Ms. Trump has clearly availed herself of the privilege of doing business in New York,” Engoron said, citing documents showing she has property and business ties to the state.

Prosecutors have argued that they will call her because “she indisputably has personal knowledge of facts relevant to the claims” against the defendants in the case.

“Ms. Trump remains financially and professionally intertwined with the Trump Organization and other Defendants and can be called as a person still under their control ,” prosecutor Letitia James argued in a court filing that was criticized by defense attorneys.

“They just want another free-for-all on one of President Trump’s children,” said Trump attorney Chris Kise. “They want her in the courtroom so it can be filled with media and we can have another circus day.”

However, the judge noted on Friday that Ivanka should not be called as a witness until November 1 to give her time to appeal the decision, should she wish to exercise that right.

The trial, which will last until the end of December, involves multiple allegations of wrongdoing at the company related to the alleged manipulation of assets over the years to obtain favorable terms with insurers and banks.

Engoron has already settled the main charge, finding Trump, his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and two former executives responsible for ongoing fraud and ordering the suspension of their business licenses in New York state.

The former president is a key witness on both sides’ list, but it is unknown when he will be called; several professionals who worked with the Trump Organization have testified since the trial began in early October.

This week, another key witness testified, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who told the prosecution that his former boss manipulated asset figures, but under cross-examination by the defense he qualified the claim and admitted to having lied under oath in the past. EFE