On Monday, former President Donald Trump and two of his adult children filed an appeal, contending that New York Attorney General Letitia James should not force them to conduct depositions.
If James wants them to testify, the Trumps argue, she should bring them before a state grand jury, which can provide witnesses protection.
Trumps urge to overturn a court ruling
The appeal is part of the Trump family’s attempt to overturn a lower court ruling last month ordering the former president and his two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., to take a deposition as part of James’ probe into the Trump Organization’s alleged fraudulent operations.
A second criminal investigation led by James and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is looking into whether Trump lowered property valuations on tax forms before raising them to make them look better to lenders.
Trump’s lawyers filed a notice with the state appellate court late last month, asking for a review of Judge Arthur Engoron’s order to have the former president and his two eldest children take depositions with the attorney general’s office.
According to The Hill, Trump has dubbed the inquiry a politically motivated witch hunt and has launched a federal lawsuit to stop it.
A state judge refused Trumps’ motion in February, indicating that they might use their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to refuse to answer questions, as Eric Trump did during his deposition in 2020. According to CNN, Trump family counsel claimed that if the Trumps failed to answer questions in depositions, a jury could draw a “adverse inference.”
The Trumps were ordered to appear for depositions by Judge Arthur Engoron of the New York Supreme Court by March 10, but the former President and his children agreed to postpone their appearances pending the outcome of an appeal.
In January, James announced that the Trump Organization had utilized “fraudulent or misleading asset values to achieve a range of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions,” and that financial statements had several “misleading claims and omissions.”