Trump appeared in court? Former President, Ivanka, Don Jr. must testify in a New York investigation into business practices

NEW YORK – A judge says former President Donald Trump and his two children must testify under oath in a New York investigation into his business practices.

This is a breaking news update. Below is an earlier version of this report.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking to enforce the subpoenas her office issued in December against Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.

James, a Democrat, said her civil investigation had uncovered evidence Trump’s company used “fraudulent or misleading” valuations of properties like clubs. golf and skyscrapers for loans and tax benefits.

MORE: Trump, Ivanka, Don Jr subpoenaed by NY attorney general

Judge Arthur Engoron will deliver his ruling after a two-hour hearing on Thursday, where attorneys for Trump and James’ office overlooked potential legal ramifications in forcing the former president to testify. bare. Whatever he decides is likely to be appealed.

Trump’s lawyers told Engoron that letting him sit on civil sentencing now, while his company is also the subject of a parallel criminal investigation, was an unwarranted attempt. It’s worth evading state law that forbids prosecutors from calling someone to testify before a criminal jury without giving them immunity.

“If she wants sworn testimony from my client, he has immunity. He’s exempt from what he says, or he doesn’t say anything,” her criminal defense attorney said. Trump, Ronald Fischetti, said during the hearing conducted by videoconference.

If Trump testifies in the civil investigation, anything he says could be used against him in a criminal investigation overseen by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

Trump could invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent during a takedown — something he has criticized others for doing in the past. But Fischetti said if Trump did, it could still compromise crime defenses.

“If he goes in and does my advice, that’s you won’t be able to answer these questions without … immunity because that’s what the law says and does the Amendment. fifth case, will be on every front page in the world. And how can I choose a jury in that case?” Fischetti said.

SEE ALSO: New York AG says Trump company defrauded banks, tax officials

James wanted her investigators to be able to question Trump and his two eldest children, both of whom were former executives of the Trump Organization.

An attorney for the attorney general’s office, Kevin Wallace, told the judge it was not unusual to conduct civil and criminal investigations at the same time.

“Mr. Trump is a famous individual, yes. That’s unique,” Wallace said. “It’s unique that so many people have noticed a rather dry hearing on subpoena enforcement. But the legal issues we’re dealing with here are pretty standard.”

Another son of Trump, Eric Trump, and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, have previously sat down to file a civil investigation – and have invoked Fifth Amendment rights of the Trump Organization. them hundreds of times when they were questioned by investigators in 2020.

Another lawyer for Donald Trump, Alina Habba, accused James of trying to use the civil investigation to gather evidence for a criminal investigation.

She said the civil investigation should be on hold until the criminal matter is over, claiming James’s office is putting Trump “in a position where they either disclose evidence in a civil investigation.” or they must invoke the constitutional right not to testify, thereby triggering an adverse inference in civil action.”

“How is that fair, sir? We must stop one,” she said.

Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., said during the hearing that he had no reason to believe that both were the target of the district attorney’s criminal investigation.

In a statement Tuesday, Trump objected to what he called a “fake investigation into a great company that has done a spectacular job for New York and beyond” and its continuation. racial motives “of the Witch Hunt whose likeness has never been seen in this Country before.”

Habba argued at Thursday’s hearing that James was engaging in “selective prosecution” and “discrimination” motivated by his political ambitions and disdain for the former Republican president. her, was refuted by comments she made over the years about her pursuit of Trump.

“We have an exceptionally rare case where we were able to demonstrate selective prosecution because she spoke too much and took every opportunity to speak out against Donald Trump and his family. him to take him down,” Habba said.

Wallace noted that the state attorney general’s office has been investigating Trump-related matters since 2013, including investigations into his charitable foundation and Trump University’s real estate training program that began. started long before James was elected.

In his court filing this week, James included a letter from Trump’s longtime accounting firm advising him not to rely on the company’s multi-year financial statements on the valuation of Trump. his company, questioning their accuracy.

Last summer, spurred on by evidence uncovered in James’ civil investigation, the Manhattan district attorney’s office charged Weisselberg and the Trump Organization with tax fraud, accusing him of collecting more than $1 $7.7 million in off-the-books compensation. Weisselberg and company have pleaded not guilty.

Engoron had previously sided with James on other issues related to the investigation, including asking Eric Trump to testify after his attorneys abruptly dropped a scheduled investigation.

Engoron ruled immediately in that matter and ordered Eric Trump to sit for impeachment within 14 days.

Copyright © 2022 of the Associated Press. Copyright Registered. Trump appeared in court? Former President, Ivanka, Don Jr. must testify in a New York investigation into business practices

Dais Johnston

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