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Trump ordered to testify in New York attorney general probe


New York Judge ruled that Donald Trump, his two adult children and one of their lawyers must obey subpoenas. These orders require the former president to answer questions on oath. They also have to turn over evidence in support of a civil investigation by the Attorney General’s Office into Trump Organization and him.

Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were all ordered to appear before investigators of Attorney General Letitia Jam within 21 days.

A subpoena requesting documents was also issued to the former president. He must comply with it within fourteen days.

In his ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron stated that “In the end, a state attorney general begins investigating a company entity. He uncovers copious evidence regarding possible financial fraud and wants to question under oath several of its principals including its namesake.”

“She is entitled to do it.”

James investigates whether or not the Trump Organization incorrectly valued various real-estate assets in order to get more favorable loans and insurance rates. Donald Trump Jr. continues to run the business with Eric his brother, and Ivanka used to be a high-ranking executive of the firm.

Trump is also facing a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney’s Office into similar issues. James has sent investigators for the DA’s investigation from her office.

After a heated court hearing in which lawyers representing the Trumps accused James of conducting a probe that was biased politically and violated the constitutional rights of elder Trump, the ruling was approved.

While the Trump attorneys sought to stop the subpoenas for these and other reasons, James’s lawyer asked Engoron to make the Trumps comply with subpoenas that had been issued previously.

According to the attorney, Engoron’s decision in favor of her was a “major victory” in her continuing investigation of Trump and his business.

James stated that “Today justice prevailed” in a prepared statement. She called the probe “lawful.”

James declared, “Noone will be permitted stand in the path of the pursuit justice no matter their ability to do so,” No one is above the law.

Engoron’s ruling discredited the claim that James was only motivated by her dislike for Trump.

“Indeed, this Court’s in camera review of the thousands of documents responsive to [the Office of the Attorney General’s]Engoron stated that OAG’s prior subpoenas demonstrate that OAG has sufficient grounds to continue its investigation. This undermines the idea that it is only based on personal animus and not facts.

“OAG failed to investigate the initial respondents and did not subpoena the New Trump Respondents. Engoron said that this would have been a flagrant dereliction (and would have broken an old campaign promise).

“Indeed the motivation for the investigation wasn’t personal animus or racial, ethnic, or any other form of discrimination but campaign promises. Former Trump associate Michael Cohen swore congressional testimony that the respondents were ‘cooking books’.

Engoron dismissed Trump’s claim that the Trumps are suing civil subpoenas when the criminal probe is still taking place allows James “to extract data from them under cover of a civil proceeding, without OAG’s having had to offer them the immunity they would receive in a grand jury setting.”

Engoron stated that “this argument completely misses its mark.”

“Neither OAG, nor Manhattan District Attorney’s Office subpoenaed New Trump Respondents before a grand jury.”

Engoron pointed out that Trumps’ argument “ignores the important fact that they have the absolute right to refuse answers to questions that may incriminate themselves.”

“Indeed respondent Eric Trump invoked his right against selfincrimination to answer more than 500 question during his one day deposition which arose from the instant proceeding.”

CNBC reached out to Trump’s spokesperson but he did not respond immediately.

Alan Futerfas was a Donald Jr. and Ivanka lawyer who stated, “As Judge Engoron has been advised, there is a possibility that we will appeal.”

Engoron, who cited another Trump-related blow in his case, made the ruling.

Mazars, an accounting company, told Trump Organization on Feb. 9 that the Trump Organization should not rely upon its statements about Trump’s financial situation for the years ended June 30, 2011, to June 30, 2020.

Mazar told the Trump Organization the same day that it had decided to quit the firm. This was partly due to James’ investigation.

Mazars explained to Trump Organization, “While we don’t believe that any of these financial statements are materially flawed, in aggregate, we think our advice for you not to rely on those financial statements”

On the heels Mazars’ statement, Trump lawyers had stated that they no longer needed to investigate the company.

Engoron laughed at this.

The judge stated that declaring that Trump’s financial statements were unreliable after the Mazars warning was issued is both outrageous and preposterous.

Engoron also wrote: “The idea that an accounting firm’s announcement that no one should rely on a decade’s worth of financial statements that it issued based on numbers submitted by an entity somehow exonerates that entity and renders an investigation into its past practices moot is reminiscent of Lewis Carroll (‘When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said … it means just what I chose it to mean — neither more nor less’); George Orwell (‘War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength’); and ‘alternative facts.'”

Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney, was repeatedly reprimanded several times by Engoron’s clerk during the earlier Thursday hearing, which was held via remote video connection.

Habba was told by the clerk that “Counselor, when the judge speaks, you must stop speaking.” Habba suggested during her argumentation, that Hillary Clinton should not be investigated but James.

Habba argued that the probe of Trump is unconstitutional and should be thrown out — even if James’ office has evidence of wrongdoing.

Habba declared that “it’s per se invalid” regarding the investigation. It doesn’t really matter if there is incriminating evidence.

Habba claimed that “the evidence is not relevant” at another point

Habba noted the numerous negative remarks James made against Trump in his bid for Attorney General. He also promised to conduct an investigation into him regarding money laundering.

Habba stated, “Letitia Jam can’t run from her own words,”

The lawyer claimed that the probe was sparked in part by bias of the Democrat James against Trump, because he’s a Republican. This is contrary to legitimate questions regarding Trump’s business practices which his former personal attorney Cohen testified were corrupt.

Habba stated, “He is allowed to be Republican.”

Habba also suggested that Trump is part of a protected class, citing Trump’s use of political speech as president.

This legal classification is used to identify groups that are eligible for discrimination protections.

Habba stated, “If he wasn’t who he really is, she wouldn’t be doing this for your honour.” That’s my argument.

Engoron replied, “He is not protected.”

Judge added that James’ grudge against Trump does not constitute “unlawful discrimination.”

Kevin Wallace, an attorney in James’s office, replied by quoting Robert Morgenthau, a New York lawyer who was accused of bias against Roy Cohn.

Morganthau stated that a man was not protected from prosecution simply because he doesn’t get along with a United States Attorney. He was speaking about Cohn who would later represent Trump in the 1970s.

Also, the Trump lawyers argued that James was effectively prohibited from asking them questions under oath when she and her office were investigating criminal cases against the Trump Organization.

They argued that a grand jury is the best venue to ask such questions.

Ron Fischetti was Trump’s criminal defence lawyer and claimed that it would not be appropriate for James to call a grand jury to question the ex-president.

Engororon was skeptical about these arguments and stated that Trump’s children might refuse to answer questions at either location by invoking the Fifth Amendment rights they have against self-incrimination.

It was noted by the judge that Eric Trump, an executive of Trump Organization had done this hundreds of times as part a deposition taken by James’ investigators.

Fischetti objected, saying that Trump’s older brother would be portrayed as a bad person by such a tactic.

I will be there if he listens to my words. [to refuse to testify under the Fifth Amendment]Fischetti said that this will appear on all front pages of every newspaper around the globe.

“And how could I possibly choose a jury for that case?” Fischetti said, implicitly acknowledging the potential for criminal prosecution of Trump in the investigation.