Body Language Expert Breaks Down Ivanka's 'Awkward' Arrival To Trump Trial

Ivanka Trump is the latest in the Trump family to testify in court for Donald Trump's trial, and it seems that Ivanka's usual professional demeanor was thrown off as she appeared out of her element.

In 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James presented a legal case against the former president for overvaluing several of his New York City estates and assets for ten years, per The New Yorker. "Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system. In fact, the very foundation of his purported net worth is rooted in incredible fraud and illegality," she claimed. The lawsuit also named Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and as defendants in the case. 

Although she was initially named a defendant, Ivanka's legal ties to the case were dismissed in June 2023, per AP News. So while Ivanka is off the hook in the case, she still had to appear in court to testify in her father's trial regarding the case. Therefore, in November 2023, Ivanka appeared in court and denied knowing of any financial documents involving the alleged overvaluing of Donald's properties, per NBC News. "As I told you, I had no involvement in his statement of financial condition and don't know about the valuations that were taken into account," she said. 

While Ivanka seemed prepared in her answers in court, Jess Ponce III — body language expert, communication coach, and author of "A.W.E.S.O.M.E." — exclusively told The List that Ivanka didn't seem prepared for the experience when she arrived at court.

Ivanka Trump tried ignoring the haters

Ivanka Trump's arrival at former president Donald Trump's civil fraud case seemed to be anything but easy for the political figure. To body language expert Jess Ponce III, it seems that she was uncomfortable by the harsh attention that greeted her when she arrived at court. "As always, Ivanka was on point with her hair, makeup and attire. She looked sharp and professional. Yet, unlike other press appearances, this 'event' was different," Ponce explained to The List. "She and her family were under deep scrutiny, and she did not seem comfortable."

At the courthouse, Ivanka was greeted by several people chanting "crime family" at her, which seemed to make her uneasy despite her impassive demeanor. "Exiting her car as she walked toward the courthouse, she did her best not to pay attention to the crowd. But she couldn't help but look up a few times as they chanted," Ponce said.

It seems Ivanka may be used to more positive attention when making a public appearance because Ponce seems to think that she had no idea how to respond to all the criticism. "She was tense and awkward. In moments where she would normally wave or say hello to the crowd, she kept looking forward," he explained. Ivanka's discomfort in the situation seemed to radiate off her body language even though she tried to make it look like she was unphased by the attention.

Ivanka Trump was out of her element

When Ivanka Trump makes a public appearance, it's usually in front of Donald Trump supporters raving over how much they love the Trump family and the former president. Ivanka's latest appearance was definitely no Trump rally, however. Instead, Ivanka was under the spotlight and had to appear in court to testify in her father's civil fraud case, with proponents of the Trump family waiting eagerly outside for her to arrive.

When the political figure did arrive at court, it was clear to body language expert Jess Ponce III that she was uncomfortable. "Ivanka was definitely out of her element. More used to red carpet fanfare, she didn't make any gestures or comments to onlookers," he told The List. "You could see in her tense posture, occasional glances, and steady gate that she just wanted to get past the press." 

Although she was aiming to avoid the press and protestors, they were still ready to fire questions at Ivanka. Someone even attempted to ask the former advisor how she was feeling, but no response was given. Her stand-off behavior is very unusual to Ponce. "For someone who is used to press attention, it seemed as though she despised it in this moment," he said. "This leads one to wonder what's worse for her, testifying or not being admired by the crowd?"

Ivanka Trump was cordial in testimony

Ivanka Trump may not have been prepared for her arrival to court, but she was ready to take on the testimony in Donald Trump's civil fraud case. New York Attorney General Letitia James has been an opponent of the Trump family but admits that Ivanka was "cordial" in her testimony, unlike her father, per CNN.

Despite her friendly demeanor, James questioned the credibility of Ivanka's testimony, showing Trump's daughter still may be entangled in the financial mess. "Ivanka Trump was cordial, she was disciplined, she was controlled and she was very courteous but her testimony raises questions with regards to its credibility, which will be a question for the finding of fact," James said, according to CNN.

James believes that Ivanka was "enriched" by the fraud in which her father was allegedly involved. "And clearly you cannot distance yourself from that fact," the attorney general said. "The documents do not lie. The numbers do not lie. And despite the fact that she was very, very nice, very friendly, the facts basically demonstrate the truth."

As for Donald's attorneys, they felt that bringing Ivanka into this was meaningless. "Ivanka, another child of the Trump family, was dragged into court again. It's enough," said Alina Happa, one of the former president's attorneys (via NBC News). It's unclear whether Ivanka will appear in court again, but there was clearly a wave of emotions going on both inside and outside the court.