ALBANY, NY (WRGB) — The investigation into the business dealings of the Trump Organization has now fanned out to include two of the former president’s children, who have been subpoenaed to testify.
This is the latest salvo in a battle of wills between the Attorney General and the former President. We learned last month that Tish James had served Donald Trump Sr. with a subpoena seeking testimony and documents, but this is the first we knew that she had also issued subpoenas to his children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr.
The A.G. had already requested that President Trump sit for a deposition on January 7th. He then filed a lawsuit against James last month for violating his constitutional rights in quote “…a thinly veiled effort to publicly malign…” him.
In the suit, Trump sought to have James, a Democrat, removed from any investigations into him or his companies. That’s significant because James’ office has been involved in a separate criminal investigation being undertaken by the Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance. Before Vance left office he won a big victory in court, when the former president was forced to give him his tax records.
A.G. James is looking into whether the Trump Organization illegally manipulated the value of its assets to avoid paying taxes. But legal analyst Leslie Silva, a partner at Tully Rinckey says the corporate earnings statements in question came out before the Trump children were likely entrenched in the business:
“Whether or not the children were involved in creating these statements, that’s a bit of a reach. But I imagine she’s following along the lines that that was his inner circle, his children were his most trusted confidants–he took them to Washington with them, so if there’s something to know they’re the ones who know it and hopefully she can get a corroborating statement out of them. That, I believe, is her course of action here.”
Another Trump son, Eric, was an executive at the Trump Organization. He was questioned under oath by James’ office in October as part of this investigation, after failing in his attempt to avoid being deposed.
Silva says if the Attorney General is successful, she can seek to enjoin the business so that it cannot operate in New York, seek restitution and damages, or cancel the Trump Organization’s business certification in the state.