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Judge rules Ivanka Trump must testify in person in Donald Trump civil fraud trial

UPI
New York Judge Arthur Engoron on Friday ruled Ivanka Trump (L) must testify in Donald Trump's civil business fraud trial. Her lawyer had argued that she should not have to testify because an appeals court removed her as a defendant in fraud trial. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A judge ruled Friday that Ivanka Trump must testify in person in Donald Trump's New York civil fraud trial.

Her lawyers argued she should not be compelled to testify after she was removed as a defendant in the trial by an appellate court.

However, Judge Arthur Engoron ruled from the bench that the state presented sufficient evidence to prove that she has business interests in New York and should testify.

Engoron also denied a motion from Donald Trump's attorney Chris Kise to allow Ivanka Trump to testify via a deposition in Florida.

"I want to see her in person. That is how we prefer testimony," Engoron said.

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Donald Trump's lawyers pushed back, saying her attendance in court would be a distraction that favors the prosecution.

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

Engoron already has granted New York Attorney General Letitia James' partial summary judgment in the case, ruling that Donald Trump fraudulently inflated the values of his real estate properties.

Kevin Wallace, an attorney with James' office, argued that Ivanka Trump is still intertwined with the Trump Organization and has personal knowledge about a loan for the Old Post Office Project in Washington, D.C.

While Engoron already has found Trump liable for business fraud, the trial is being held to settle other outstanding issues in the civil suit, including how much money Trump and his business organization will have to pay for the fraud.

James is also seeking to bar the Trumps from doing business in New York, so Trump's New York businesses could be dissolved.

Engoron already ordered Trump business licenses in New York to be cancelled, but that dissolution was temporarily stopped by a New York Appeals Court judge on Oct. 6.

James will call the Trumps to the witness stand starting Wednesday, with Donald Trump Jr.

Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump will testify Thursday and Friday.

James likely will rest her case in the week of Nov. 6.