Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Trump appeals ruling requiring him to testify in New York investigation | Donald Trump


Donald Trump has appealed a judge’s decision requiring he answer questions under oath in New York state’s civil investigation into his business practices – a widely expected move that’s likely to prolong the fight over his testimony by months.

Lawyers for the former president and his two eldest children filed papers on Monday with the appellate division of the state’s trial court, seeking to overturn Manhattan judge Arthur Engoron’s 17 February ruling.

They argue ordering the Trumps to testify violates their constitutional rights because their answers could be used in a parallel criminal investigation.

In an eight-page ruling, Engoron set a 10 March deadline for Trump and his children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr, to sit for depositions. Lawyers for the Trumps asked the appellate court for a stay to spare them from questioning while it considers the matter.

The court did not set a date for arguments. It typically issues decisions several months after that, but could be inclined to rule on an expedited basis given the urgency of New York attorney general Letitia James’ investigation and the Trumps’ desire to swiftly overturn Engoron’s ruling.

A message seeking comment was left with James’ office. On Friday, the attorney general had signaled she was ready for a long fight to get them to testify.

Trump did not immediately comment on the appeal. James, a Democrat, has 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.

If Engoron’s decision is upheld it could force Trump into a tough decision about whether to answer questions, or stay silent, citing his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination. Anything Trump says in a civil deposition could be used against him in the criminal investigation being overseen by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

At a hearing prior to Engoron’s decision, Trump’s lawyers argued that having him sit for a civil deposition is an improper attempt to get around a state law barring prosecutors from calling someone to testify before a criminal grand jury without giving them immunity.

A lawyer for the attorney general’s office told Engoron that it wasn’t unusual to have civil and criminal investigations proceeding at the same time, and Engoron rejected a request from lawyers for the Trumps to pause the civil investigation until the criminal matter is over.

Last summer, spurred by evidence uncovered in James’ civil investigation, the Manhattan district attorney’s office charged the Trump Organization with tax fraud, which Trump denies. The future of the criminal investigation was thrown into question last week when the two prosecutors leading it abruptly quit.

Lawyers for the Trumps asked the appellate court Monday to consider three questions: whether James’ office is violating their rights by issuing subpoenas for their testimony while also participating in the criminal investigation; whether protections for grand jury witnesses under state law, such as immunity, can be “eviscerated, if the same agency involved in the criminal investigation simply opens a ‘civil’ investigation into the very same matters”; and whether Engoron erred in rejecting the Trumps’ contention that James has engaged in selective prosecution.

Engoron, in his ruling, said the thousands of pages of evidence he’s reviewed in the case shows there’s sufficient basis for continuing the investigation.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.