Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s two eldest children have been subpoenaed by New York authorities probing whether his real-estate business manipulated the value of key assets for tax and insurance purposes.
Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., longtime business associates of their father, on Monday night filed a joint motion in New York state court to block the subpoenas, accusing New York Attorney General Letitia James of making an unconstitutional attempt to get testimony from the family members while they still face a separate criminal investigation.
James had revealed the existence of the subpoenas in a court filing earlier on Monday, saying she anticipated a motion to block them. Donald Trump is also fighting an earlier subpoena, she said.
The Trump Organization has balked at complying with James, who sued in August 2020 to enforce her initial set of seven subpoenas. A judge has repeatedly ruled in her favor, ordering the company to fully comply or submit to a search of its documents by an outside firm.
“Despite numerous attempts to delay our investigation by the Trump Organization, we are confident that our questions will be answered and the truth will be uncovered because no one is above the law,” James said in a statement.
“Attorney General James is trying to circumvent the entire grand jury process, and nullify the moving parties’ most fundamental Constitutional and statutory rights by requesting that they provide non-immunized testimony,” Alan Futerfas, lawyer for Trump’s two eldest children said in their filing Monday night.
Trump last month sued James in an effort to block the probe, accusing her of investigating his Manhattan-based real-estate company for political purposes. James, who suspended her run for governor of New York in December, had aimed to get his testimony under oath by Jan. 7.
James began the probe in 2019 to determine if Trump’s company had been manipulating the value of key assets. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen triggered the investigation after he handed Congress a trove of Trump financial records and testified that his former boss “inflated his total assets when it served his purposes” and “deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”
Eric Trump, one of the former president’s sons and an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, was deposed by state investigators in October 2020 after fighting in court to delay the questioning.
In July, then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., in cooperation with James, charged the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with an array crimes associated with untaxed benefits the executive had received, including the use of luxury cars and apartments. Weisselberg and the company have denied wrongdoing.
A major focus of the James probe has been the Trump Organization’s appraisal of Seven Springs, a 212-acre estate in Westchester County, New York. Her office has been trying to determine whether the company gave an accurate valuation for the property when it served as the basis for about $21.1 million in tax deductions for donating a conservation easement for the 2015 tax year.
Trump’s 40 Wall Street skyscraper and his Chicago hotel are among the other properties being scrutinized in the attorney general’s probe, which overlapped with the Manhattan district attorney’s broad investigation of possible bank, mortgage and tax fraud.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.