Donald Trump and his children can be deposed as part of ongoing civil litigation filed by the New York Attorney General’s Office. Judge Arthur Engoron gave the ruling, shocking the family who had previously challenged subpoenas to testify in front of a grand jury.
The judge ruled that the Trump family’s criminal legal battle, and the possibility that their testimony could be used in that case, do not protect any of them from testifying in the civil case. Trump and his family are currently being investigated for fraud in New York.
“This argument completely misses the mark. Neither (the Attorney General) nor the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed (the Trumps) to appear before a grand jury,” Engoron wrote in his ruling.
The Trumps are being compelled to testify in the civil case within 21 days. Meanwhile, they have 14 days to respond to document requests in the case. The Trump family attorney is, of course, appealing the ruling.
“Today, justice prevailed”
For his part, Judge Engoron asked the Trumps’ attorneys multiple times why their clients could not plead the fifth amendment when testifying. Trump’s attorneys replied that such a response would be akin to admitting guilt.
Donald Trump and his family will likely refuse to incriminate themselves during a trial, or while testifying in front of a grand jury.
In fact, Judge Engoron asked Trump’s attorneys, “Is there any hint or suggestion that the attorney general is going to haul your clients in front of a grand jury?” The attorneys reluctantly answered no.
Trump’s family attorneys have repeatedly alleged that the investigations into the family are tainted by a conflict of interest between his criminal investigation and his civil case. However, such an allegation has never been proven.
The information NY AG Letitia James and her office are requesting relate not just to loans, but also to tax filing inconsistencies, which could have produced tax benefits the Trump Org may have used improperly. Ms. James alleges that Trump provided misleading numbers when evaluating his properties for tax purposes.
According to powerhouse AG James, whose office is leading investigations into Donald Trump and his family, “Today, justice prevailed.”