Court Requires Trumps to Answer Under Oath

Calling former president a citizen, judge orders depositions in New York civil investigation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2022 3:46 PM CST
Court Requires Trumps to Answer Under Oath
Then-President Donald Trump watches his daughter Ivanka Trump speak at a campaign event in Kenosha, Wis., in November 2020.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

Former President Donald Trump; his daughter Ivanka; and son, Donald Jr. were ordered Thursday to provide sworn testimony in an investigation of their business practices. The Trumps had gone to court to get the subpoenas from New York Attorney General Letitia James' office thrown out, arguing the civil investigation is politically motivated and intended to boost an ongoing criminal investigation. But state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled that James has found evidence of financial fraud, NBC News reports, and so has "the clear right" to question the Trumps as part of the case.

A Trump lawyer, Ron Fischetti, told the judge this is a special case because "this is a former president of the United States." The law doesn't see it that way, Engoron said. "To me, he's a citizen," the judge answered. He assured the former president's lawyer that the Trumps would be entitled to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when testifying, pointing out that Eric Trump did that 500 times when he gave a deposition in the case in 2020. If the former president does the same, Fischetti said, "he'll be on every front page in the world." The lawyer also argued that might taint the jury pool, should Trump face a criminal trial.

James' investigation is about whether Trump misled lenders, insurers, or anybody else with his personal or Trump Organization financial statements, per CNN. While rejecting the argument that James is treating the Trumps unfairly for political reasons, the judge did sound a critical note, saying she's made sensational statements promising to investigate the former president. "It's arguably a circus that she's done," the judge said. The Trumps' lawyers had already said they'd appeal if the ruling Thursday went against them. The depositions are to be given within three weeks. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.