Donald Trump, Don Jr. and Ivanka must TESTIFY under oath as part of probe into whether the family business inflated property prices, New York judge rules
A federal judge in New York has ruled that former President Donald Trump and two of his adult children must testify into a probe of his business dealings.
New York AG Letitia James argued that all possess vital information about Trump’s business dealings and assets. She has already accused Trump of boosting valuations on financial statements when seeking lending.
Trump is no stranger to depositions – he answered questions for 4 1/2 hours last year in a case brought by men who claimed they were assaulted by security at Trump Tower.
His other adult son, Eric Trump, previously testified in the civil case and repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment rights – more than 500 times, according to a filing by James’ office.
Don Jr. and Eric ran the Trump Organization along with now-indicted executive Allen Weisselberg while Trump was serving as president.
The decision comes after a bombshell filing Monday that revealed Trump’s longtime accounting firm had quit and that 10 years of financial statements could not be relied on.
A federal judge has ruled that former President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump all must provide depositions in a civil fraud case
While undoubtedly helpful for prosecutors, James has already been able to obtain a trove of information through subpoenas and interviews with other company officials.
She was able to obtain a wealth of tax and financial information from Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars, following a case that went to the Supreme Court.
‘Today, justice prevailed,’ James said in a statement. ‘Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump have been ordered by the court to comply with our lawful investigation into Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization’s financial dealings. 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,’ she added.
Under the order, the three must appear within 21 days. The judge also ordered Donald Trump Jr. to produce additional documents within two weeks.
Trump this week accused James of ‘vicious intimidation tactics’ against his longtime firm, after Mazars said it could no longer rely on a decade’s worth of financial statements it worked on for him and announced it was ending its relationship with the company.
Trump said they were ‘essentially forced to resign from a great long-term account by the prosecutorial misconduct.’
Trump in his statement goes on to provide dollar figures for cash and marketable securities, escrow, reserve deposits and other categories he says lead to a net worth of $5.8 billion.
Earlier Thursday, Trump lawyer Alina Habba used a hearing in the former president’s alleged fraud case to accuse District Attorney Letitia James of going after him ‘probably because he can win again in ’24.’
The Bedminster, New Jersey-based lawyer also took the opportunity to accuse Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton of ‘spying’ on his campaign.
Channeling Trump’s tone in his frequent online statements and his demands to investigate his investigators, she told James and another lawyer for the state AG’s office: ‘I want to know … are you going to go after Hillary Clinton for what she’s doing to my client?’
Lawyers for New York State Attorney General Letitia James argued that the case required testimony by Trump and his children
Trump has repeatedly attacked the prosecution, which he has called a ‘witch hunt’
Trump lawyer Alina Habba used a hearing to accuse Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton of ‘spying’ on his campaign
Ivanka Trump had an option to purchase a Park Avenue apartment leased to her by her father’s company for $8.5 million, according to the court order seeking testimony filed by the AG’s office. But the firm listed its value as high as $25 million in financial statements
Ivanka had an option to purchase the Park Avenue apartment for $8.5 million, according to the court order seeking testimony filed by the AG’s office, after leasing it on ‘extraordinarily favorable terms’. Ivanka is seen in the apartment with two of her kids
‘That she spied at Trump Tower in your state? Are you going to look into her business dealings?’
The lawyer cast Trump as a victim of ‘viewpoint discrimination’ – and challenged James for her own public comments about Trump during her election, Law & Crime reported.
Judge Arthur Engoron repeatedly cut short her interruptions and efforts to steer the conversation toward Trump’s rivals. ‘The Clintons are not before me,’ he said.
James opened the door to the line of attack with some of her past statements about Trump during her own campaigns. She has called him an ‘illegitimate president’ and said ‘we need to find out where he is laundering his money,’ statements the Trump team has used to accuse her of misconduct.
Habba’s ‘spy’ comment was a reference to Special Counsel John Durham’s explosive recent court filing in his investigation of the origins of the Russia probe. Durham included ‘factual background’ information in a filing that has roused Republicans who claim it proves Trump’s ‘spy’ claim, although indicted Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann says it was intended to ‘inflame’ the media. He is charged with a single count of lying to the FBI.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump, Don Jr., and Ivana must appear within 21 days
Habba is a Bedminster, NJ lawyer who has represented Trump in the Sumner Zervos defamation case and other matters.
Trump has always involved his children in his business – which he took over from his father, Fred Trump.
James’ office has brought forward information related to Ivanka Trump, who advised Trump in the White House, in her probe, although the former first daughter is not accused of any wrongdoing.
A court document filed last month says Ivanka was given the option to buy a luxury NYC apartment from the Trump Organization for a third of the value listed on company financial statements.
Ivanka had an option to purchase the Park Avenue apartment for $8.5 million, according to the court order seeking testimony filed by the AG’s office, after leasing it on ‘extraordinarily favorable terms’.
But her father on his Statement of Financial Condition over several years listed values of the apartment at between $20,820,000 and $25,000,000, according to the document.
‘Given Ivanka Trump’s involvement in these and other matters, her testimony plainly bears a reasonable relation to the matters under investigation by OAG and must be compelled,’ according to the January filing.
Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg has taken over a criminal investigation into whether Trump violated any laws by deliberately misleading lenders.
Trump’s legal setback came on a day his nemesis Hillary Clinton attacked him at the New York Democratic Convention.
She said accusations her campaign spied on Donald Trump are a ‘conspiracy’ tied to his mounting legal issues.
‘We can’t get distracted, whether it’s by the latest culture war nonsense, or some new right wing lie on Fox or Facebook – by the way they’ve been coming after me again lately in case you might have noticed,’ she said.
‘It’s funny, the more trouble Trump gets into the wilder the charges and conspiracies about me seem to get,’ she added. ‘So now his accountants have fired him. And investigations draw closer to him. And on the right the noise machine gets turned up,’ she added.
Democrats urge the government to TERMINATE its lease with Trump’s D.C. hotel before he can sell it for $375 million to Alex Rodriguez-backed investment group because he filed ‘false financial returns’
A Democrat-controlled congressional committee on Thursday asked the U.S. government to cancel former president Donald Trump’s lease of a historic Washington property after his accounting firm quit because of a decade of misleading financial statements.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee accused the Trump Organization of misleading the federal government when it applied to turn the Old Post Office Building into a luxury hotel that is now worth $375million.
Trump bought a 100-year lease on the hotel which is owned by the General Services Administration. He turned it into a luxury hotel in 2016.
‘No one should be rewarded for providing false or misleading information to the federal government or for seeking to profit off the presidency,’ the committee wrote.
The latest move by the Democrats comes after Trump’s accounting firm Mazars quit and said a decade of his financial statements could not be trusted.
Trump has claimed his accounting form stopped working for his company after ‘vicious intimidation tactics’ by New York’s Democrat Attorney General forced them to quit.
Former New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has emerged as part of an investment group closing in to buy Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel, according to sources familiar with a deal that might help the former president claw back millions of dollars from his loss-making property.
A Democrat-controlled congressional committee on Thursday asked the U.S. government to cancel former president Donald Trump’s lease of a historic Washington property, saying that recent courtroom developments have cast doubt on the accuracy of his company’s financial statements
The Trump Organization reportedly reached a deal with the Miami-based CGI Merchant Group last year to sell its lease on the Trump International Hotel, just a short walk down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, for $375 million.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.
However, sources said the deal is actually led by the Hospitality Opportunity Fund – a $650 million fund whose backers include serial investor Rodriguez.
Although industry insiders said Rodriguez was simply the headline name on a fund of hundreds of backers, Trump critics delighted in the apparent irony.
‘This is just more proof that the only thing that matters to Trump is money,” said Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio told the Associated Press, which was first to report the involvement of Rodriguez.
‘If A-Rod can bail out Trump and get him out of a sticky situation and help him turn a profit, he’s going to take that deal. He’d take it from Hillary Clinton.’
In 2013, a year before Major League Baseball suspended A-Rod for an entire season for using banned performance-enhancing drugs, he tweeted: ‘The Yankees should immediately stop paying A-Rod — he signed his contract without telling them he was a druggie.’
He followed up in similar vein.
‘Druggie A-Rod has disgraced the blessed Yankees organization, lied to the fans & embarrassed NYC. He does not deserve to wear the pinstripes,’ he wrote.
The Trump Organization sank $200 million into renovating the Old Post Office and the building reopened as a luxury hotel in 2016 (above), quickly establishing itself as a haunt for Trump allies
In a statement on Tuesday night, Trump also said he estimates his net worth to be around $8billion, as questions over his finances mount up.
Trump’s claims came after Mazars USA LLP informed the Trump Organization that a decade’s worth of its financial statements ‘should no longer be relied upon’ – and asserted it now has a ‘conflict of interest’ with the company.
New York’s AG Letitia James will go to court on Thursday seeking to enforce a subpoena for Trump’s testimony in a civil investigation she says uncovered evidence his company used ‘fraudulent or misleading’ valuations of golf clubs, skyscrapers and other properties to get loans and tax benefits.
In a letter posted to the court docket as evidence, Mazars urged the Trump Organization on February 9 to inform anyone who’d been given his Statement of Financial Condition, such as banks and insurers, that ‘those documents should not be relied upon.’
The firm said that while it hadn’t found ‘material discrepancies’ in reviewing the documents, it said the ‘totality of the circumstances’ made it imprudent to use them going forward.
Former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has emerged as one of the investors behind a $375 million deal to buy the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC
In response, Trump issued the lengthy statement on Tuesday night alleging that the accounting firm cut ties with him because it had faced ‘vicious intimidation tactics’ from authorities investigating him.
‘Mazars has been threatened, harassed, and insulted like virtually no other firm has ever been,’ Trump said in the four-page statement.
He said the decision by Mazars ‘to withdraw was clearly a result of the AG’s and DA’s vicious intimidation tactics used—also on other members of the Trump Organization.
‘Mazars, who were scared beyond belief, in conversations with us made it clear that they were willing to do or say anything to stop the constant threat which has gone against them for years,’ Trump continued.
The 45th president of the US said his net worth is ‘approximately $8 to $9 billion’ based on the value of his brand and ‘current enthusiasm and transactions which have or will take place,’ far higher than recent estimates in financial publications.
Forbes, whose editor testified before a grand jury investigating Trump, pegged his worth at $2.5 billion as of last September.