New Telegraph

February 23, 2024

Trump must testify in NY investigation says judge


Former US President Donald Trump and two of his children must answer questions under oath in a New York investigation into their business practices, a judge has ruled.

New York’s attorney general has accused the Trump Organisation of obtaining tax breaks and loans through “fraudulent or misleading asset valuations”.

Trump must sit for sworn testimony within 21 days, reports the BBC.

He denies the accusations, and is expected to appeal the decision.

He could also invoke his right to remain silent in any deposition.

The Trump Organisation said in a statement to the BBC: “The entire system is corrupt.”

On Thursday, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said that Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr, 44, and daughter Ivanka Trump, 40, must each comply with legal orders that prosecutors issued in December.

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation had uncovered “copious evidence of possible financial fraud”, the judge said, giving her a “clear right” to question under oath the former president and two of his children involved in the business.

Trump, 75, has called the investigation politically motivated and a “witch-hunt” by Ms James, a Democrat.

The investigation, which was opened in 2019, aims to prove the government’s claims that Trump inflated the value of his assets to banks when seeking loans. The fraud is alleged to have taken place before he took office.

Attorneys for Trump had attempted to sue Ms James in a bid to prevent her from questioning the former president and his children.

Ms James hailed the judge’s decision as a victory, saying that “justice has prevailed”.

The civil case is separate to a Manhattan criminal investigation into the Trump Organisation’s practices.

In court, attorneys for Trump argued that testifying in the civil case would improperly allow the state to circumvent a law that bars prosecutors from calling someone to testify before a criminal grand jury unless they are granted immunity.

“If she [Ms James] wants sworn testimony from my client, he’s entitled to immunity,” Trump’s defence attorney, Ronald Fischetti said.

“He gets immunity for what he says, or he gets nothing”.

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