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HomenewsCould Ivanka Trump face legal trouble over penthouse price?

Could Ivanka Trump face legal trouble over penthouse price?

Ivanka Trump probably will not face a new lawsuit despite former President Donald Trump‘s ex-accountant testifying about discrepancies in the value of her Trump Tower apartment, legal experts told Newsweek.

The former president is facing a civil trial regarding New York Attorney General Letitia James’ allegations of business fraud. James filed a $250 million lawsuit alleging that Donald Trump inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to obtain benefits such as better bank loans and reduced tax bills between 2011 and 2021. Trump maintains his innocence, accusing James of targeting him for political purposes.

Donald Bender, a partner at Mazars USA and longtime accountant for Donald Trump’s businesses, testified that the valuation given for the Trump Park Avenue penthouse in Manhattan was different than a price offered to Ivanka Trump to buy it outright. James’ lawsuit alleged the Trump Organization valued the apartment at $20.8 million, compared with the $8.5 million option price offered to Trump’s daughter.

Ivanka Trump is not included in the civil lawsuit after a New York appeals court removed her from the list of defendants in June because the statute of limitations prevents James from suing certain defendants over transactions on time-dependent timelines, either before July 13, 2014, or February 6, 2016.

Bender’s testimony probably will not lead to a new lawsuit against the former president’s daughter, according to legal experts.

Although the public heard Bender’s testimony for the first time during the trial, the information would have been known to James and her team, Michael McAuliffe, a former federal prosecutor and former elected state attorney, told Newsweek. He said there is little likelihood that she will face a new case but remains “part of the fraud story the attorney general is telling to the judge.”

“The information was almost certainly available to the attorney general and her team before now, and may have been known to them when making decisions about who to file civil fraud charges against within the Trump organization, including Ivanka Trump,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe said Bender’s testimony could influence whether Ivanka Trump “tries to invoke her right against self-incrimination based on how the testimony comes in and she’s actually called as a witness.”

“There may be in theory federal exposure for her actions if they are within federal statute of limitations periods or she may have some other state law exposure,” he said.

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani agreed that Ivanka Trump is unlikely to face new legal trouble, pointing out that the discrepancies were from 2011.

“The Court of Appeals ruled that most of the conduct before 2014 or 2016 [depending on the tolling agreement] was barred by the statute of limitations. The AG’s Office may argue that the financial statements were a ‘continuing wrong,’ but I don’t expect them to do so now that Ivanka’s claims have been dismissed,” he told Newsweek.

Bender’s testimony sparked speculation from some Trump critics that Ivanka Trump could face legal trouble.

“New York Attorney General Letitia James has long suspected that Ivanka Trump committed financial fraud — but she didn’t have the evidence to prove it in court. She now has first-hand testimony from the Trump Organization’s longtime accountant — meaning that she can now sue Ivanka Trump as well,” Omar Rivero, the founder of Occupy Democrats, wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign via email for comment.

Engoron last week sided with James that Trump, his adult sons and businesses committed business fraud. During this non-jury trial, the judge will decide on six other accusations, including falsifying business records, insurance fraud and conspiracy claims. The civil trial means Trump will not face criminal charges in the case.

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