Former President Donald Trump, his namesake and his daughter Ivanka have agreed to answer sworn questions next month in a New York Attorney General’s civil inquiry into his business practices unless their lawyers persuade the country’s highest court to intervene.
A Manhattan judge on Wednesday signed an agreement requiring Trump to make statements – the legal term for sworn testimony before trial – from July 15th.
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Messages for comment were sent to the former president’s lawyers. Attorney General Letitie James’s office declined to comment, as did Trump’s junior attorney, Alan Futerfas.
The deal came after a series of failures in Donald Trump’s efforts to stop James ’3-year investigation.
James said the investigation uncovered evidence that Trump’s company had misrepresented the value of assets such as skyscrapers and golf courses in its financial statements for more than a decade. Her office’s lawyer told the judge last month that the evidence could support a lawsuit against the former president, his company or both, although the lawyer said no decision had been made.
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Trump condemned the investigation as part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” against him.
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The New York State Court of Appeals ruled on May 26 that Trump must stand trial for the statement, upholding a lower court ruling that the Attorney General has a “clear right” to question Trump and some other directors at his company.
Then on May 27, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Trump to seek a court order preventing James from investigating.
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The lawsuit alleges that James, a Democrat, targeted the former Republican president because of political intolerance and violated his rights to freedom of speech and due process. Trump’s lawyer said at the time that she would appeal the dismissal.
James, meanwhile, said Trump had filed “unfounded legal challenges” in her investigation and promised to continue.
Wednesday’s agreement acknowledges that Trump may appeal to the New York Supreme Court, appointed by the Court of Appeals, to try to overturn a decision that requires his statement.
James ’office began investigating Trump in 2019 after his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress that a businessman who became a politician had in the past misrepresented the value of assets to obtain favorable loan terms and tax benefits.
James’ office was also involved in a parallel but separate investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
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