Trump and his children subpoenaed by New York attorney general in family business investigation
The New York attorney general recently subpoenaed former US President Donald Trump and his two eldest children, demanding their testimony in an ongoing civil investigation into the family’s business practices, a court record has found. public Monday.
The subpoenas, arising from Attorney General Letitia James’ multi-year investigation into issues such as “valuation of property owned or controlled” by Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, came to light after James was went to court last month in an attempt to force the Assets to comply.
A state court judge who has dealt with past disputes arising from the investigation agreed on Monday to hear the subpoena arguments, which are also asking the Trumps for documents in addition to their testimony.
James, a Democrat, has spent more than two years investigating whether the Trump Organization has misled banks or tax officials about the value of assets – inflating them to get favorable loan terms or downplaying them to achieve tax savings.
The Trumps have indicated they will fight the subpoenas and have to file court documents through their lawyers to have them deported. A similar legal battle unfolded last year after James’ office cited the testimony of another Trump son, Eric Trump.
Messages requesting comment were left at James ‘office and the Trumps’ attorneys.
Monday’s filing was also the first public disclosure that investigators were seeking information from Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. in connection with the investigation.
It was reported last month that James had asked Donald Trump to sit for a deposition, but Monday’s court record was the first public acknowledgment by his office that he had subpoenaed him to appear.
The legal battle intensifies
As the legal battle over subpoenas escalated behind the scenes, Trump sued James in federal court last month, seeking to end his investigation. Trump, in the lawsuit, claimed James violated his constitutional rights in a “thinly veiled effort to publicly slander Trump and his associates.”
In the past, the former Republican president has denounced James’ investigation as part of a “witch hunt” as well as a parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
James investigators last year interviewed one of Trump’s sons, Eric Trump, an executive with the Trump Organization, as part of the investigation. James’s office went to court to enforce a subpoena against young Trump, and a judge forced him to testify after his lawyers abruptly quashed a previously scheduled deposition.
Former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. last year gained access to the longtime real estate mogul’s tax records after a years-long fight that twice went to the State Supreme Court -United. He also brought tax evasion charges in July against the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg.
Although the civil investigation is separate from the District Attorney’s criminal investigation, James’ office was involved in both.
Before stepping down last week, Vance called a new grand jury to hear evidence as he weighed whether he should seek further indictments as part of the investigation.
Weisselberg has pleaded not guilty to the charges alleging that he and the company evaded taxes on lucrative employee benefits paid to executives.
Both investigations are at least in part linked to allegations made in news reports and by former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen that Trump had a habit of distorting asset values.
James’ office issued subpoenas to local governments as part of the civil investigation into the cases involving Seven Springs, Trump’s estate in upper Manhattan, and a tax benefit Trump received for placing land in a conservation trust. Vance subsequently issued subpoenas requesting many of the same files.
James’ office also looked at similar issues with a Trump office building in New York City, a hotel in Chicago, and a golf course near Los Angeles.
His office has also won a series of court rulings forcing Trump’s company and a law firm it hired to hand over treasure troves of documents.