Donald Trump and his children Donald Jr and Ivanka are subpoenaed in New York investigation

NEW YORK, Jan. 3 (Reuters) – The New York State Attorney General is demanding that two of Donald Trump’s adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, testify as part of his civil investigation into the business practices and the company of the same name as the former US president.

Subpoenas to the Trumps of Attorney General Letitia James’s office were disclosed in a filing filed Monday with a New York state court in Manhattan.

Donald Trump has also been subpoenaed to testify under oath.

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On Monday evening, lawyers for the family called on a judge who oversaw litigation related to the investigation to overturn James’ “unprecedented and unconstitutional” candidacy for their testimony.

Alternatively, they asked the judge to block the subpoenas until the Manhattan district attorney completed a related criminal investigation which James joined last May.

James’ subpoenas reflect an escalation in his nearly three-year investigation into whether the Trump organization fraudulently inflated the value of its real estate holdings to obtain bank loans and downgraded their value to lower its tax bill.

The investigation focused on properties such as Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, New York, an office building in downtown Manhattan, the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, and the Trump International Hotel and Tower. in Chicago.

Donald Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba in an emailed statement accused James, a Democrat, of “arming his office” through a “political witch hunt” that violates the constitutional rights of the government. former Republican president.

“Her actions are a threat to our democracy and I plan to hold her accountable to the fullest extent possible,” Habba said.

Another adult son of Donald Trump, Eric Trump, was interviewed by James’ office in October 2020.

Donald Trump handed the Trump Organization over to his adult sons and the company’s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg when he became president in 2017.

Ivanka Trump also worked for the Trump Organization, before serving in the White House as a senior adviser.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, Senior White House Advisor Ivanka Trump, Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. watch US President Donald Trump hold a campaign rally at the Kenosha Regional Airport in Kenosha, Wisconsin, States United, November 2, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Barria / File Photo

‘INCORRECT LIMIT SWITCH’

James’ civil investigation is separate from the criminal investigation now led by new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg into the Trump Organization’s business practices.

Weisselberg and the company pleaded not guilty in this July investigation to directing what a prosecutor called “broad and bold” tax evasion in which company executives received “unofficial” benefits over 15 years .

In their court brief on Monday, attorneys for the Trumps accused James of attempting to circumvent the grand jury process by obtaining testimony in his civil investigation that could be used against the family in the criminal investigation.

“The subpoenas are a grossly inappropriate ending around the rules,” the lawyers wrote.

James responded by accusing the Trumps of continually employing “delay tactics” to hamper his investigation, and that “despite their names” they must follow the same rules as everyone else.

“Our investigation will continue without being discouraged,” she promised.

Bragg was sworn in as district attorney on Saturday to succeed fellow Democrat Cyrus Vance, who led that office for 12 years and began his investigation in 2018.

Last month, Bragg told CNN he plans to become personally involved in the criminal investigation and wants his best lawyers on the case to stay.

Donald Trump and the Trump Organization separately sued James in December in federal court in Albany, the state capital, to end his civil investigation.

They accused her of having attempted to “harass, intimidate and retaliate against an ordinary citizen whom she considers to be a political opponent”.

Donald Trump and his adult children have not been charged with criminal wrongdoing, and James cannot lay criminal charges because his investigation is civilian.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Karen Freifeld in New York and the Washington Newsroom; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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