According to reports, Donald Trump, the formal President of the United States of America, will be obliged to testify in a civil litigation against the Trump corporation, along with two of his eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Jr.
On Thursday, February 17, 2022, a New York state judge ordered the former President and his two eldest children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, to testify under oath within 2021 after they tried everything they could with their lawyers to block or quash Attorney General Letitia James’ subpoenas while she was asking the court to order them to comply.
The court voiced skepticism toward the Trumps’ arguments that testifying in the civil inquiry would jeopardize their constitutional rights on many occasions during the hearing.
During Thursday’s hearing, Trump’s lawyers said they would appeal if the ruling was unfavorable.
The attorney general of New York is investigating whether Trump lied to lenders, insurers, and others in his and his company’s financial records. James has already claimed that tax returns and financial documents used to seek loans contained various “misleading claims and omissions.”
James requested the court to compel Trump to comply with her subpoenas, which include a request for particular records that she claims Trump hasn’t provided.
“In the end,” Engoron said, “a State Attorney General begins an investigation into a business company, uncovers extensive evidence of suspected financial wrongdoing, and wishes to interrogate, under oath, several of the entity’s principals, including its namesake.” “She has an unmistakable right to do so.”
Engoron questioned why the Trumps couldn’t simply invoke the Fifth Amendment’s protections against self-incrimination and refuse to answer specific questions during Thursday’s hearing.
“Are they unable to refuse to respond?” “Isn’t that what Eric Trump did 500 times?” the judge said, alluding to a deposition given in the inquiry by Trump’s son.
If James wants their testimony, the Trumps’ lawyers believe she should bring them before a grand jury, where they may be granted immunity.
The lawyers emphasized the importance of collaboration between the Manhattan district attorney’s office and James’s office, which is now pursuing its own criminal investigation.
Ronald Fischetti, who is representing Trump in the district attorney’s criminal probe, contended that if Trump was compelled to invoke the Fifth Amendment, it would be on the front page of every newspaper and taint the jury pool if a criminal case was filed against him.
The former President has also requested that James’ inquiry be put on hold entirely, claiming that she is conducting a political and selective probe and is unduly biased against him.
The judge was also suspicious of those reasons, rejecting Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba’s accusations that the attorney general was discriminating against Trump because of his political views. Habba said the attorney general’s office should be questioned if it plans to pursue Hillary Clinton for allegedly spying on Trump Tower, referring to a recent legal filing in special counsel John Durham’s probe that has been mischaracterized by conservative media.
The judge did point out, however, that James has made dramatic public statements both as a candidate and as president, threatening to probe Trump.
“What she’s done is perhaps a circus,” the judge added.