Will Ivanka Trump go to prison? POTUS's daughter deposed in ongoing lawsuit alleging misused inaugural funds
The news of her deposition comes amidst recent reports that President Trump is discussing preemptive pardons for his children, including Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr
President Donald Trump's eldest daughter and his Senior Advisor, Ivanka Trump, was deposed on Tuesday, December 1, as part of a lawsuit by the Washington, D.C. attorney general’s office. The attorney general's office has sued the Trump Organization and the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) over alleged misuse of inauguration funds of over $1 million. The PIC, which Ivanka was a part of, has been accused of "grossly overpaying" the Trump Hotel for event space for the 2017 presidential inauguration.
Ivanka's deposition has raised fresh questions of whether the president's daughter is likely to face jail time in the case. The news of her deposition comes amidst recent reports that President Trump is discussing preemptive pardons for his children, including Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. According to the New York Times, the Republican leader has discussed preemptive pardons for them with his advisers as recent as last week. Recent reports also state that the Justice Department is probing an alleged "bribery for pardon" scheme at the White House.
The eldest Trump daughter, on Tuesday, sat with investigators for five hours to explain her side as deposition of witnesses as part of the suit have continued over the past several weeks. The chairman of the inaugural committee, Tom Barrack, was deposed last month on November 17, court documents state. Records of other White House members, including First Lady Melania Trump, have also been subpoenaed by the attorney general's office. The lawsuit alleges that PIC, under the direction of the former inaugural committee deputy chairman Rick Gates, paid $175,000 per day for four days to reserve event space at the Trump Hotel.
Ivanka released a statement about the deposition on Thursday morning, December 4, and tweeted an image of an email she claimed she was sent in December 2016 in which she asked for "fair market rate" to be charged. The president's daughter, in the tweet, added: "This 'inquiry' is another politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness & waste of taxpayer dollars."
The general counsel for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, in a statement to CNN, said that Ivanka's "only involvement was connecting the parties and instructing the hotel to charge a 'fair market rate', which the hotel did." The suit alleges that Gates, in December 2016, wrote to Ivanka that he was a "bit worried about the optics of PIC [Presidential Inaugural Committee] paying Trump Hotel a high fee and the media making a big story out of it."
The committee's then event planner, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, had also reportedly advised against the rate agreed on and had told the committee and the Trump family that the charges were at least twice the market rate, the lawsuit added. Wolkoff "noted unease with the offer during an in-person meeting with President-elect Trump and Ivanka Trump," DC Attorney General Karl Racine stated in the suit. According to Racine, Walkoff also sent a follow-up email to both Ivanka Trump and Gates to "express [her] concern" but the contract was eventually accepted regardless. Sources close to the matter told the outlet that it is possible Walkoff will be deposed next week.