The New York attorney general summoned the former president recently Donald Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump JrAsking to testify in connection with a civil investigation into the family’s business practices, according to a court filing.
The subpoenas, stemming from Attorney General Letitia James’ years-long investigation into matters including the “valuation of property owned or controlled” by Trump and his company, The Trump Organization, surfaced after James appeared in courts last month to force Trump to comply.
A state court judge who has dealt with past disputes arising from the investigation agreed Monday to consider arguments related to the subpoenas, which also seek documents from Trump in addition to their testimony.
James, a Democrat, has spent more than two years analyzing whether the Trump Organization Mislead banks or tax officials about the value of assetsor amplify it to obtain favorable loan terms or reduce it to obtain it tax savings.
Trump has indicated that they will fight the subpoenas and are expected to file court papers through their attorneys to have them removed. A similar legal battle erupted last year after James’ office cited the testimony of another Trump son, Eric Trump.
Letters seeking comment were left on Monday with Trump’s lawyers and the attorney general’s office.
Monday’s presentation was also the first public disclosure that investigators were seeking information about Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr as part of the investigation. It was reported last month that James had asked to appear for Donald Trump to testify, but Monday’s appearance in court was his office’s first public admission that he had summoned him.
As the legal dispute over the subpoenas escalated behind the scenes, Trump sued James in federal court last month, seeking to end his investigation. Trump, in the lawsuit, alleged that James violated his constitutional rights in a “disguised attempt to publicly defame Trump and his associates.”
In the past, The former Republican president criticized the sweeping investigationIt’s part of a “witch hunt” in conjunction with a parallel criminal investigation being conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
James’ investigators interviewed Eric Trump, the executive director of the Trump Organization, last year as part of the investigation. James’ office went to court to enforce a subpoena against young Trump and was forced by a judge to testify after his lawyers abruptly overturned a previously scheduled statement.
Although the civil investigation is separate from the county attorney’s criminal investigation, James’ office was involved in both.
Last year, then-Attorney General Cyrus Vance Jr. gained access to a real estate mogul’s old tax records after a multi-year battle that reached the United States Supreme Court twice. He also filed tax fraud charges in July against the Trump Organization and its former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
Before leaving office last week, Vance invited a new grand jury to hear evidence from the investigation, but left the decision on additional charges to his successor, Alvin Bragg. The new attorney general has said he will be directly involved in the Trump case while appointing the two veteran attorneys who have led the case under Vance.
Weiselberg pleaded guilty to charges that he and the company evaded taxes on lucrative fringe benefits paid to executives.
Both investigations relate, at least in part, to allegations in news reports and former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen that Trump has a history of distorting the value of assets.
James’ office has issued subpoenas to local governments as part of a civil investigation of records relating to Trump’s property in northern Manhattan, Seven Springs, and the tax benefits Trump received for putting the land in a sandbox. Later, Vance issued subpoenas to search for many of the same records.
James’ office is also looking into similar issues related to the Trump office building in New York City, a hotel in Chicago and a golf course near Los Angeles. His office also won a series of court rulings that forced Trump and the law firm he hired to turn over a slew of records.
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