Prime News, International (Washington), Feb 18:- Former President Donald Trump must answer questions under oath in New York state’s civil investigation into his business practices, a judge ruled Thursday.
Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., to comply with subpoenas issued in December by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Trump and his two children must sit for depositions within 21 days, Engoron said following a two-hour hearing with lawyers for the Trumps and James’ office.“In the final analysis, a State Attorney General commences investigating a business entity, uncovers copious evidence of possible financial fraud, and wants to question, under oath, several of the entities’ principals, including its namesake. She has the clear right to do so.” Engoron wrote in his decision.
The eight-page ruling is almost certain to be appealed, but if upheld it could force the former president into a tough decision about whether to answer questions, or stay silent, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination — something he’s criticized others for doing in the past.
In a statement, Trump said, “THERE IS NO CASE!” and accused James’ office of “doing everything within their corrupt discretion to interfere with my business relationships, and with the political process.” Trump called the ruling “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in history — and remember, I can’t get a fair hearing in New York because of the hatred of me by Judges and the judiciary. It is not possible.”
In a statement, James said: “No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are. No one is above the law.”
James, a Democrat, said her investigation has uncovered evidence Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, used “fraudulent or misleading” valuations of assets like golf courses and skyscrapers to get loans and tax benefits. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).