The New York attorney general is seeking to question former president Donald Trump (C), daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr
A US judge ruled Thursday that former president Donald Trump and his eldest children must testify under oath in New York’s civil probe into alleged fraud at his family business.
The ruling is the latest legal blow to the 75-year-old as he fights numerous cases that threaten to complicate any bid for another run at the White House in 2024.
Following more than two hours of oral arguments, state judge Arthur Engoron rejected a plea by Trump, Donald Jr and Ivanka to quash subpoenas issued by James in December.
Their lawyers argued that the subpoenas in the civil case were an attempt by James to grab evidence for a parallel criminal investigation into the Trump Organization that she is involved with.
Engoron said their argument “completely misses the mark,” noting that neither the Manhattan district attorney, which is running the criminal investigation, nor James’s office have ordered the Trumps to appear before a grand jury.
He noted that Trump’s son Eric had pleaded the fifth “more than 500 times” during a deposition for James’s investigation in October 2020.
Following the ruling, Trump’s lawyer slammed James’s investigation as “yet another politically motivated witch-hunt,” one of the ex-leader’s favorite refrains.
– ‘Dereliction of duty’ –
He said that for James not to have investigated the allegations or subpoenaed the Trumps would have been “a blatant dereliction of duty.”
She said in January that her civil inquiry had found that the Trump Organization fraudulently overvalued multiple assets to secure loans and then undervalued them to minimize taxes.
The Manhattan district attorney’s probe into possible financial crimes and insurance fraud is very similar, however.
His trial is due to begin in the middle of this year.
Mazar’s announced it was ending its relationship with Trump in part because of James’s findings.
In Washington, he has been trying to prevent a congressional probe into the January 6 attack by his supporters on the US Capitol from accessing White House records related to that day.