Donald Trump Ordered to Testify in New York Probe, Lawyer Wants Immunity

A judge ruled Thursday former President Donald Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., will be required to testify for an investigation into the Trump Organization's financial statements.

In his decision, Judge Arthur Engoron wrote New York Attorney General Letitia James "has the clear right" to request the testimony under oath in light of the evidence her investigation has found of "possible financial fraud," the Associated Press reported. However, Ronald Fischetti, a criminal defense lawyer for Trump, said at the hearing his client is "entitled to immunity."

"He gets immunity for what he says, or he says nothing," Fischetti said.

The decision comes after James asked the court to enforce the subpoena for testimony from Trump, as well as his Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., after her investigation into the former president's family business found the stated values of several of the company's properties to be "fraudulent or misleading," the AP reported.

Trump's lawyers will almost certainly appeal the decision. But until then, Engoron ruled that the Trumps have 21 days to sit for depositions. If the ruling is upheld after the likely appeal, Trump will be forced into choosing between answering questions or invoking his Fifth Amendment right to protect against self-incrimination.

James suspects the Trumps inflated real estate values when in need of bank loans and lowered them to decrease the taxes they would have to pay. In a statement, she said her office has "uncovered significant evidence" to prove this.

"The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them," James said.

The investigation has specifically looked into golf clubs in Aberdeen, Scotland and New York's Westchester County, two buildings in Manhattan and Trump's penthouse in Manhattan's Trump Tower.

Further adding to the evidence in the case is a letter from Trump's longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP, which recently let him go.

In the February 9 letter, Mazars told the Trump Organization to tell any banks or insurers that had received the company's Statement of Financial Condition that "those documents should not be relied upon." It added that while there were no "material discrepancies" in the statement, the "totality of the circumstances" still made it unwise for the company to continue working with the firm.

In a statement, Trump said that Mazars dumped him because those investigating him had hit the firm with "vicious intimidation tactics."

James posted about the judge's decision on Twitter.

"No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are," she wrote.

This is not the only legal battle Trump and his organization are facing. Newsweek reported Thursday that the U.S. House's oversight committee asked the General Services Administration to end Trump's lease on his Washington, D.C., hotel due to "false financial statements or certifications" potentially breaching the lease's terms.

In addition, according to a list of all of Trump's upcoming legal battles on the Insider website, an Atlanta district attorney is weighing charges over his conduct surrounding the 2020 election, and Trump and his allies have been receiving a flood of requests for records and information connected to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Donald Trump, Texas
New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating former President Donald Trump's business. Above, Trump pauses while speaking during the "Save America" rally at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds on January 29 in Conroe, Texas. Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images