Court Battles

Judge rules Trump, children must comply with NY AG’s subpoena for testimony

Former President Trump and his two eldest children must comply with the New York attorney general’s subpoenas for their testimony in an investigation into the family’s business practices, a New York state judge ruled on Thursday.

Judge Arthur Engoron denied the Trumps’ effort to quash the subpoenas, rejecting their arguments that New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) is conducting a politically motivated investigation that is depriving them of their constitutional rights.

“In the final analysis, a State Attorney General commences investigating a business entity, uncovers copious evidence of possible financial fraud, and wants to question, under oath, several of the entities’ principals, including its namesake. She has the clear right to do so,” Engoron wrote.
 
The judge dismissed Trump’s arguments that James’s various comments about the former president, including campaign vows to investigate him, undermine the legal basis for the investigation.

Engoron wrote in his eight-page ruling that his own “review of the thousands of documents responsive to OAG’s prior subpoenas demonstrates that OAG has a sufficient basis for continuing its investigation, which undercuts the notion that this ongoing investigation is based on personal animus, not fact and law,” referring to the Office of the Attorney General.

“As has often been said, that a prosecutor dislikes someone does not prevent a prosecution,” the judge added.

He ordered Trump to comply with the subpoena within 14 days. Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump have 21 days to sit for a deposition.

James applauded the ruling on Thursday.

“Today, justice prevailed,” the state attorney general said in a statement. “Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump have been ordered by the court to comply with our lawful investigation into Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization’s financial dealings. 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.”

Alina Habba, one of Trump’s attorneys, said in a statement that the ruling “confirmed what we’ve already known for some time – Donald J. Trump cannot get a fair ruling in the State of New York.”

“The abhorrent statements made by Letitia leave no doubt that this is yet another politically motivated witch-hunt,” Habba continued. “It is disappointing that the Judge overlooked her egregious prosecutorial misconduct and has allowed her investigation – which blatantly violates the US Constitution – to continue undeterred. The court clearly had its mind made up and had no interest in engaging in impartial discourse on this critically important issue.”

James’s office revealed last month that it had uncovered “significant” evidence that the Trump Organization has for years been falsifying the value of its assets for financial gain, including to win tax breaks and attract investors.

That revelation came as Trump fought to block her efforts in both state and federal court, while painting the investigation as a political witch hunt in the media.

Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, said in a letter sent to the former president’s company last week that it could no longer vouch for the business’s financial statements for the past decade given the revelations from the attorney general’s investigation.

The Trump Organization responded to the news with a statement saying that Mazars’ review of the financial statements proved that James’s civil investigation and the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation were both unnecessary.

“While we are disappointed that Mazars has chosen to part ways, their February 9, 2022 letter confirms that after conducting a subsequent review of all prior statements of financial condition, Mazars’ work was performed in accordance with all applicable accounting standards and principles and that such statements of financial condition do not contain any material discrepancies,” the statement said. “This confirmation effectively renders the investigations by the DA and AG moot.”

In his ruling on Thursday, Engoron took aim at the company for releasing that statement.

“To proclaim that the Mazars’ red-flag warning that the Trump financial statements are unreliable suddenly renders the OAG’s longstanding investigation moot is as audacious as it is preposterous,” the judge wrote.

Updated at 6:52 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Ivanka Trump
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