NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump, his namesake son and daughter Ivanka have agreed to answer questions under oath next month as part of the New York Attorney General’s civil investigation into his business practices, unless their lawyers persuade the highest court in the state to intervene. in.
A Manhattan judge on Wednesday signed an agreement that requires the Trumps to give depositions — a legal term for sworn testimony before the out-of-court trial — starting July 15.
Messages seeking comment have been sent to the ex-president’s lawyers. State Attorney General Letitia James’ office declined to comment, as did junior Trump attorney Alan Futerfas.
Another Trump son, Eric Trump, gave a deposition in 2020 but declined to answer some questions.
The new deal comes after a series of setbacks for Donald Trump’s efforts to block James’ 3-year investigation.
James said the investigation uncovered evidence that Trump’s company had overstated the value of assets such as skyscrapers, golf courses and even its Manhattan penthouse to obtain loans, insurance and relief taxes for land donations. A lawyer in his office told a judge last month that evidence could support a lawsuit against the former president, his company or both, although the lawyer said no decision had been made. .
Trump has denounced the investigation as part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” against him.
A New York state appeals court ruled on May 26 that Trump must take a deposition, upholding a lower court’s ruling that the attorney general had a “clear right” to question Trump and certain others. managers of his company.
Then, on May 27, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Trump had filed seeking a court order preventing James from investigating him.
The lawsuit claimed that James, a Democrat, targeted the Republican former president because of his political animosity and violated his free speech and due process rights. A lawyer for Trump said at the time that the dismissal would be appealed.
James, meanwhile, said Trump launched “baseless legal challenges” during his investigation and vowed it would continue.
Wednesday’s agreement recognizes that the Trumps can appeal to New York’s highest court, called the Court of Appeals, to try to overturn the ruling that requires their depositions.
The former president has had plenty of experience with such interrogations during his business career, and he gave evidence last October in a lawsuit brought by protesters who said his team of security had abused them during his first presidential campaign.
James’ office began investigating Trump in 2019, after his former personal attorney Michael Cohen told Congress the businessman-turned-politician had a habit of misrepresenting the value of assets to secure loan terms. and favorable tax benefits.
James’ office was also involved in a parallel, but separate, investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.