Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of former president Donald Trump, has asked for a delay in bringing the $250m fraud lawsuit filed against her, her brothers, her father and their family’s eponymous real estate company to trial because a defence arguing that she wasn’t responsible for fraudulent financial statements issued by the company will take more time to prepare.
In court documents, Ms Trump’s attorneys argue that the fraud complaint filed last year against her and her co-defendants by New York Attorney General Letitia James “does not contain a single allegation that Ms. Trump directly or indirectly created, prepared, reviewed, or certified any of her father’s financial statements”.
“Other individuals were responsible for those tasks,” her lawyers wrote.
The judge overseeing the fraud lawsuit, New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, has said the 2 October trial will commence on time “come hell or high water,” but Ms Trump’s request for delay cites the “unique” circumstances of her role in the case and notes that she has not been accused of lying about her father’s finances despite her former role as a top executive at the Trump Organization.
Her lawyers also said the case is “not simple” because she resigned from her role at the company in 2017 to take a position in her father’s administration.
Ms Trump’s father has also asked for a delay in the trial and argued that a later start date is “borne of necessity” in part due to the “staggering volume” against the company.
“The current schedule makes the preparation of a defense impossible,” attorneys Alina Habba and Clifford Robert wrote in court documents. “Fundamental notions of fair play and due process mandate that Defendants are afforded every opportunity to prepare a meaningful defense, rather than to have an impossible schedule forced upon them”.
In response, attorneys with Ms James’ office have said in court filings that there would be “no unfair prejudice to Defendants under the existing schedule” and said the Trumps’ “claimed hardship is self-inflicted”.
“Defendants have had ample time and opportunity to familiarize themselves with the matter. Instead, they have waited until the eve of the fact discovery deadline to only just begin their process of conducting discovery to prepare for trial, and now seek more time,” the attorney general’s office said.