A New York judge ruled on Thursday that former U.S. President Donald Trump and two of his adult children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., must answer questions under oath within 21 days in the state attorney general’s civil probe into their family company. Justice Arthur Engoron of the New York state court in Manhattan ruled in favor of Attorney General Letitia James in directing Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr and his daughter Ivanka Trump to testify.
Judge Engoron said James had “the clear right” to issue her subpoenas and question the Trumps after having uncovered “copious evidence of possible financial fraud.” He wrote that failing to issue subpoenas “would have been a blatant dereliction of duty (and would have broken an oft-repeated campaign promise).” AG James said in a statement: “Today, justice prevailed. No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are. No one is above the law.”
The decision followed a two-hour hearing in which Trumps’ lawyers accused James of doing an end run around their clients’ constitutional rights by seeking testimony she could then use against them in a parallel criminal investigation. Last month, James said her nearly three-year investigation into the Trump Organization had uncovered significant evidence of possible fraud. She described what she called misleading statements about the values of the “Trump Brand” and six Trump properties, saying the company may have inflated real estate values to obtain bank loans and reduced them to lower tax bills.
Lawyers for Donald Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump, declined to comment. Washington D.C.’s attorney general is separately suing the Trump Organization and Trump’s inaugural committee over the alleged misuse of $1.1 million of charitable funds. A Sept. 26 trial date was set on Thursday.
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