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Judge Rules NY AG Can Question Trump, Children Under Oath

February 17, 2022 by Dan McCue
<strong></img>Judge Rules NY AG Can Question Trump, Children Under Oath</strong>
Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Kenosha Regional Airport, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Letitia James can question former President Donald Trump and two of his adult children as part of a civil inquiry into his business practices, a state Supreme Court judge ruled Wednesday afternoon.

The ruling by Judge Arthur F. Engoron, who presides in New York’s 1st Judicial District, is the second blow Trump suffered as a result of the case this week. On Monday, James released a letter in which Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, cut ties with him and disavowed a decade’s worth of his financial statements.

He responded to the release of that document with a lengthy email diatribe.

Both James and a second criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are trying to determine whether Trump improperly inflated the value of his assets over the years in order to receive favorable loans from a number of different lenders.

Because it is civil, James’ inquiry will not result in criminal charges. If she finds evidence of criminal wrongdoing, she’ll file a civil lawsuit against Trump, his organization or others involved in the business. 

“No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are,” James said in a statement posted to Twitter after the ruling was announced.

During a virtual hearing Thursday morning, lawyers for the Trump family argued the only reason James wants to interview Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump is she has a political vendetta against him and wrongly launched an investigation to score political points.

At several points during the hearing, Engoron literally called “time out,” making a t-sign gesture with his hands, in order to pause the heated exchanges between the attorneys.

Engoron’s ruling clears the way for James to interview the Trumps next month, though an appeal is expected.

The three Trumps also have the option of invoking their constitutional right to not incriminate themselves, something the former president’s other son, Eric Trump, did when questioned by the attorney general’s office in October 2020. 

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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