Updated Feb 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge orders Trump, children to testify in New York probe

Photo of Donald Trump speaking at a rally
Former President Donald speaks to a crowd a rally at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022 in Conroe, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A judge has ordered former President Trump and his two oldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., to testify in New York's civil investigation into his business.

Why it matters: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has alleged that Trump Organization used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."

Details: Judge Arthur Engoron rejected Trump's argument that the attorney general's office is using subpoenas in the civil investigation to unlawfully extract information for a separate criminal probe.

  • James' office "pursued its civil investigation for more than a year without the slightest hint that it was a subterfuge to garner evidence for a criminal investigation in the offing," Engoron wrote in the ruling.
  • The argument also "overlooks the salient fact that they have an absolute right to refuse questions that they claim may incriminate them."
  • "A State Attorney General commences investigating a business entity, uncovers copious evidence of possible financial fraud, and wants to question, under oath, several of the entities' principals, including its namesake," Engoron concluded.

What she's saying: “Today, justice prevailed,” James said in a statement Thursday. “No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are. No one is above the law,"

Worth noting: "The ruling is almost certain to be appealed, but if upheld it could force the former president into a tough decision about whether to answer questions, or stay silent, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination," AP writes.

The big picture: Trump's longtime accounting firm abruptly cut ties with his business last week.

  • The accounting firm said in a letter dated Feb. 9 that annual financial statements it prepared for Trump from 2011 to 2020 "should no longer be relied upon."

Editor's note: This post has been updated with additional details throughout.

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