Multi-Judge Panel Rules Against Trump Family In NY Corruption Case

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A four-judge panel in the appellate division of New York’s trial court has ruled that ex-President Donald Trump — and two of his adult children, Ivanka and Donald Jr. — must testify as part of an ongoing investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James into the Trump business. That investigation hinges on apparently essentially falsified valuations for certain Trump company assets. The deceptive valuations would have been set to help Trump’s company obtain unearned financial benefits.

The appeals court decision in New York upholds a previous decision from New York Judge Arthur Engoron directing the Trumps — well, the former president and those two kids of his — to testify. “Once again, the courts have ruled that Donald Trump must comply with our lawful investigation into his financial dealings. We will continue to follow the facts of this case and ensure that no one can evade the law,” James said after the new ruling. Per a press release from James’s office, “The Appellate Division rejected all of the arguments made by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump.” Trump’s side argued against potential testimony because of the possibility for information gleaned from that process to be used in the separate criminal investigation into Trump’s business that culminated in part in tax evasion-related charges against the company and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

Despite the criminal probe, the New York appeals panel handling this matter concluded that the “existence of a criminal investigation does not preclude civil discovery of related facts, at which a party may exercise the privilege against self-incrimination,” as they put it. The former president’s side could once again appeal to a higher-level authority in the New York judiciary, and considering the ex-president’s penchant for litigation, expecting such a move would seem reasonable. Trump has publicly lashed out against James in her personal capacity, describing her as “racist.”

Previously, a “lawyer for the attorney general’s office told Engoron that it wasn’t unusual to have civil and criminal investigations proceeding at the same time,” the Associated Press reported. Just recently, Trump paid a $110,000 fine incurred in tandem with a contempt finding over his separate failure to comply to a sufficient level with a push from James for documents as part of her investigation. Originally, Trump’s team provided explanations to the court of the search for documents that were profoundly inadequate. Engoron said a personal affidavit from Trump was “completely devoid of any useful detail” and “fails to state where he kept his files, how his files were stored in the regular course of business, who had access to such files, what if any, the retention policy was for such files, and, importantly, where he believes such files are currently located,” among other issues. The originally $10,000-a-day fine was put on ice after the submission to Engoron of 66 pages from the Trump team covering attempts to find materials James sought.