NEW YORK (AP) – The New York attorney general recently subpoenaed former President Donald Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., demanding their testimony as part of a civil investigation into the practices family business, according to a court case. 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 turned himself. was taken to court last month in an attempt to force the Trumps to comply.
The attorney general’s attempt to obtain the testimony of the former president was reported in December, but the filing of the complaint on Monday was the first public disclosure that investigators were also seeking information from Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
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 soliciting comment were left with lawyers for the Trumps and the attorney general’s office on Monday.
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.
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.
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 Eric Trump, a Trump Organization executive, 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.
Although the civil investigation is separate from the District Attorney’s criminal investigation, James’ office was involved in both.
Last year then-prosecutor Cyrus Vance Jr. gained access to the longtime real estate mogul’s tax records after a years-long fight that twice went to the Supreme Court. the United States. He also brought tax evasion charges in July against the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg.
Before stepping down last week, Vance called a new grand jury to hear evidence as part of the investigation, but left the decision on the additional charges to his successor, Alvin Bragg. The new district attorney said he would be directly involved in the Trump case while retaining the two senior prosecutors who led the case under Vance.
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 has issued subpoenas to local governments in connection with the civil investigation into the files concerning Trump’s property north of Manhattan, Seven Springs, 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.