A state appeals court last month upheld Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling in February that subpoenas issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James are valid. James’ office has been investigating potentially fraudulent financial practices by Trump and the Trump Organization.
“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,” wrote the four-judge panel that upheld Engoron’s ruling. The panel cited the Trumps’ right to exercise the Fifth Amendment. The Associated Press notes that anything Trump says in a deposition for James’ investigation, which is civil, can be used in the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation.
The Trumps have been long been fighting subpoenas James slapped them with in December. The attorney general detailed in a filing motion the following month that Trump is “personally implicated” in the alleged fraud, which involves inflating or the valuation of properties belonging to the Trump Organization to obtain loans, while decreasing them to obtain favorable tax rates. The following month Engoron ruled the Trumps must comply. “She has the clear right to do so,” he wrote of James’ effort to obtain testimony.
The Trumps refused to comply, leading James to request they be held in contempt of court. Engoron ruled last month that they were indeed in contempt, ordering Trump to pay $10,000 a day until he complies with the subpoena.
James welcomed the news that Trump’s latest appeal had failed. “A court has once again ruled in our favor and ordered Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump to appear before my office to testify under oath,” she tweeted after Judge Engoron’s ruling last month. “Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law.”