Trump Must Testify in New York Attorney General's Investigation, Judge Rules


NEW YORK — Donald Trump and two of his children must sit for questioning in the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into the former president’s financial dealings, a judge ruled Thursday.

Lawyers for Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. had argued against subpoenas tied to a probe of the family business, saying that James is improperly acting as a criminal prosecutor — and even discriminating against the elder Trump because he is a Republican.

But Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled in favor of the attorney general, requiring the former president, Trump Jr. and Ivanka to comply with demands for documents and testimony.

“For OAG not to have investigated ... and not to have subpoenaed the (Trumps), would have been a blatant dereliction of duty,” Engoron wrote.

Engoron went so far as to call one of Trump’s legal claims “as audacious as it is preposterous.”

The ruling came after a two-hour hearing earlier in the day.

“She is discriminating against him,” said Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, claiming that James was targeting Trump’s “protected class” as a Republican.

“The traditional protected classes are race, religion, et cetera,” Engoron responded. “Donald Trump doesn’t fit that kind of mold or model. He’s not being discriminated against based on race, is he? Or religion, is he? He’s not a protected class. If Ms. James has a thing against him that’s not, in my opinion, unlawful discrimination. He’s just a bad guy she should go after.”

James opened an investigation in 2018 into the Trump Organization after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, testified before Congress about the ex-president’s business practices.

Last month, her office filed court papers outlining alleged lies about the value of Trump properties on financial documents, from the size of Trump’s luxury Manhattan penthouse to the value of golf clubs in Los Angeles and Scotland.

Trump and his family members’ attorneys asked for the civil investigation to be put on pause until the Manhattan district attorney's separate criminal case is finished, arguing that James is improperly using the civil investigation to get around protections afforded people under criminal investigation.

Alan Futerfas, who represents Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., claimed that James is gathering information that she then gives over to DA Alvin Bragg, with whom she’s working “hand in glove.”

Lawyers for the attorney general’s office batted down the claims, saying their probe is justified.

“The investigation is proper. We’ve established that these three witnesses have information relevant to our investigation,” said Assistant Attorney General Kevin Wallace.