Trump and His Children Refuse to Be Deposed in Tax Dodging Investigation

Trump and His Children Refuse to Be Deposed in Tax Dodging Investigation 1

The Trump family was supposed to turn over records and testimony to the New York Attorney General related to the Trump family’s alleged tax dodging. Predictably, they didn’t. So now, investigators are turning up the heat on former President Donald Trump himself, Don Jr., and Ivanka.

The three Trump family members are being added as “respondents” in an ongoing legal fight with New York Attorney General Leticia James, according to a document filed in New York state court Monday morning.

In the court filing, the AG’s office said it recently issued subpoenas for the former president and two of his adult kids “for testimony and documents ‘in connection with an investigation into the valuation of properties,’” but that “a dispute has arisen.” Now the state’s top prosecutor wants to force them to cooperate.

In a statement, the law enforcement agency said, “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.”

The office of the former president did not respond to a request for comment.

Since James took office in January 2019, she has been making good on campaign promises to subject the family business, the Trump Organization, to scrutiny for its wildly different real estate valuations. Documents show the family persistently tried to reduce their tax bill by claiming advantageous valuations for several properties, including an opulent forested estate and a golf course north of New York City. According to court records, the AG’s investigators have also been probing potential bank fraud.

Investigators are focusing on the former president and his kids, because Donald Trump led the firm with a tight grip until he entered the White House in 2017, when his children assumed more control.

In September, the state judge overseeing the case unsealed a court order that gave Trump and his top lieutenants an ultimatum: Comply with subpoenas or pay for a third party to do it for you. Monday’s court filing now shows the degree to which Trump and his kids have resisted personally subjecting themselves to examination.

Tensions flared last month when Trump personally sued the AG in federal court, using the lawsuit to smear the civil investigation as a political prosecution. Unbeknown to the public, the AG’s office in December had been sending subpoenas to the former president, Don Jr., and Ivanka seeking to have them sit down for sworn depositions, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The Trump family is expected to soon file a document in court to block the subpoenas, according to the filing, which was also signed by two lawyers representing the Trumps. Ronald P. Fischetti is an attorney hired to represent the former president, and Alan S. Futerfas is a lawyer at the Trump Organization.

A different Trump family member tried to put up resistance in the past—and it didn’t pan out. Trump’s third son, Eric Trump, fought off a subpoena until he eventually buckled and sat down for a deposition on Oct. 5, 2020.

This civil investigation is separate from the joint criminal investigation into tax fraud that’s being run as a joint operation between the AG and the Manhattan District Attorney. That other case resulted in an indictment against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. His trial is set for later this year.