Ivanka Trump slow to hand over documents in Trump Organization fraud case, attorney general claims

Former White House official is at centre of Trump Organization’s civil fraud lawsuit in New York

John Bowden
Washington DC
Friday 05 May 2023 22:32 BST
Donald Trump calls Letitia James a 'crazy, radical, leftist nutjob' during rally

The attorney general of the state of New York has accused Ivanka Trump of refusing to turn over documents in a timely fashion as the deadline for producing evidence as required by the discovery phase of the Trump Organization’s civil fraud lawsuit nears.

Letitia James’ team made the accusation in a court filing dated 25 April, first reported by Forbes, in the latest development in the Trump family’s battle with the state of New York to occur since the former first daughter dropped her old legal team, including attorneys who jointly representer her and her brothers.

According to the AG’s office, Ms Trump’s team has all but ceased turning over documents to state authorities. Directed to turn over email communications sent by their client between 2014-2017, Ms Trump’s attorneys reportedly turned over thousands of emails covering the first nine months of 2014 — only for that number to drop to a few hundred per month by the end of that year, and a few dozen per month by the end of 2016.

And when questioned by the state attorney general’s office about the sudden drop-off in communications, Ms Trump’s legal team provided “no substantive answer”.

“Defendants have either ignored the inquiries, provided non-substantive responses, or passed the buck to counsel no longer engaged in the case,” charged Ms James’s team.

“The time to meet-and-confer on these issues has long since passed,” the attorneys continued. “The fairest and simplest way to resolve these issues is for Defendants to provide sworn certifications detailing the process they followed for preserving, searching and producing documents in response to [office of the attorney general] discovery notices.”

Ms Trump’s representatives argue that they are complying with their obligations.

“There is simply no real controversy here. The Trump Defendants provided a lengthy response to the Court detailing their extensive discovery efforts over the past months and providing the specifics as to the involvement of and the cooperation with the New York Attorney General in that process. The Trump Defendants will continue to comply with their discovery obligations and the Orders of the Court,” said Ms Trump’s legal team in a statement to The Independent.

Despite protests from Ms Trump’s team that “there has been no lack of diligence and no ‘stonewalling,’” the judge in the case has granted the AG’s motion and ordered that Ms Trump’s team submit affidavits describing under threat of perjury their process for providing documents to state authorities.

The development is just the latest headache for the Trump family as the criminal prosecution of former President Donald Trump continues in Manhattan and Fulton County, Georgia, is nearing a decision on whether Mr Trump or members of his 2020 campaign legal team will face separate criminal charges in that state.

Ms James’s office, working through the civil court system, is seeking to bar the Trump Organization from doing further business in the state of New York. A ruling to that effect would have major repercussions for the Trump family company, which has numerous properties in the Empire State despite Mr Trump’s personal relocation to his estate and resort at Mar-a-Lago.

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