3rd January, 2022
New York state’s attorney general is demanding that two of Donald Trump’s adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, testify in her civil probe into the former U.S. president’s business practices and namesake company.
Subpoenas to the Trumps from the office of Attorney General Letitia James were disclosed in a Monday filing with a New York state court in Manhattan.
Donald Trump has also been subpoenaed to testify under oath, and the Trump family plans to ask a judge who has overseen disputes related to the probe to block James’ lawyers from obtaining their testimony, according to the filing.
James’ subpoenas reflect an escalation of her nearly three-year probe into whether the Trump Organization fraudulently inflated the values of its real estate holdings to obtain bank loans, and reduced their values to lower its tax bills.
Alina Habba, a lawyer for Donald Trump, in an emailed statement accused James, a Democrat, of having “weaponized her office” through a “political witch hunt” that violates the former Republican president’s constitutional rights.
“Her actions are a threat to our democracy and I plan to hold her accountable to the fullest extent,” Habba said in response to a request for comment from the Trump Organization.
Lawyers for Trump’s children did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Eric Trump, another adult son of Donald Trump, was questioned by James’ office in October 2020.
Donald Trump turned over the Trump Organization to his adult sons and the company’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, when he became president in 2017.
Ivanka Trump, had also worked for the Trump Organization, before serving in the White House as a senior adviser.
James’ probe has focused on properties including the Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, New York, a downtown Manhattan office building, the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.
It is related to but separate from a criminal probe by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and which James joined last May, into the Trump Organization’s business practices.
Weisselberg and the company pleaded not guilty in that probe last July to charges they ran what a prosecutor called a “sweeping and audacious” tax fraud in which company executives were awarded “off-the-books” benefits over 15 years.
The criminal probe is now overseen by Alvin Bragg, who was sworn in on Saturday as district attorney to succeed fellow Democrat Cyrus Vance, who led that office for 12 years and began the probe in 2018.
Bragg told CNN last month that he plans to be personally involved in the criminal probe, and wanted his top lawyers on the case to stay on.
Last month, Trump sued James in a federal court in Albany, the state capital, to halt her civil probe, accusing her of trying to “harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen who she views as a political opponent.”
Donald Trump and his adult children have not been accused of criminal wrongdoing, and James cannot file criminal charges because her probe is civil.