Trump to face sworn deposition in New York lawsuit as legal troubles mount

Attorney general’s office to begin interviews but depositions delayed following death of Ivana Trump, ex-president’s first wife

The New York attorney general’s office was expected to begin questioning Donald Trump and two of his children over allegations of financial fraud today after the former president failed in his legal effort to block what he has called a politically motivated “witch hunt”, though the deposition has been postponed after the death of Ivana Trump.

Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Jr, have been summoned to give sworn depositions after the state attorney general, Letitia James, said a three-year civil investigation uncovered evidence that the Trump Organization routinely inflated the value of properties, including office blocks, apartment buildings and golf courses, in order to obtain loans at favorable rates and to claim tax breaks.

The AG’s office alleges that the former president’s Trump Tower apartment block was recorded as being three times as large as it really was as part of the fraud.

The depositions will be made at the state supreme court in Manhattan. It is not immediately clear on which day the former president will be questioned but Trump’s lawyer has indicated that he will invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination and refuse to answer questions.

The case adds to a string of legal troubles for Trump, including the possibility of criminal charges for tax evasion. The Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, are expected to go on trial later this year on charges of tax fraud following a parallel investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

A view of Trump Tower in New York.
A view of Trump Tower in New York. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

In addition, the House committee investigating the January 6 storming of the Capitol has said there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the former president and some of his allies committed crimes in his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Prosecutors in Atlanta, Georgia, have convened a grand jury to consider whether Trump broke state law in trying to stop election authorities declaring that Joe Biden won the state. Earlier this month the grand jury subpoenaed US Senator Lindsey Graham and Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani as part of the criminal investigation.

The Trump Organization also faces a trial later this month over an assault by its security guards on protesters against the then presidential candidate’s racist attack on Mexicans in 2015. Trump has denied ordering the assault.

Trump lost a series of court cases that attempted to quash the New York civil investigation as politically driven and then to avoid testifying.

A lawyer for the attorney general’s office told a judge there is enough evidence to support legal action against the former president and his company but that no decision has been taken on prosecutions. If James presses ahead with the case and wins, she could seek an order winding up the Trump Organization.

Trump and all three of his children have also been summoned to give depositions next month in a class action lawsuit brought by people who say they were tricked into investing in companies Trump was paid to endorse on his programme, Celebrity Apprentice. “The Trumps conned each of these victims into giving up hundreds or thousands of dollars – losses that many experienced as devastating and life-altering,” the lawsuit claims.

The deposition delay follows the death of Ivana Trump, Donald Trump’s first wife and the mother of Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr.

“In light of the passing of Ivana Trump, we received a request from counsel for Donald Trump and his children to adjourn all three depositions, which we have agreed to,” the New York attorney general’s office said.

“This is a temporary delay and the depositions will be rescheduled as soon as possible. There is no other information about dates or otherwise to provide at this time.”


Chris McGreal in New York

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
New York attorney general lawsuit accuses Trump of ‘staggering’ fraud
Letitia James’s civil suit accuses ex-president of inflating his net worth by billions in order to ‘enrich himself and cheat the system’

Hugo Lowell, Maya Yang and Martin Pengelly in New York

21, Sep, 2022 @10:07 PM

Article image
New York attorney general subpoenas Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump – report
Letitia James reportedly issues subpoenas to pair as part of fraud investigation into former president’s business empire

Guardian staff and agencies

03, Jan, 2022 @6:31 PM

Article image
Trump and family sued by New York attorney general over alleged charity violations
Suit brought by Barbara Underwood says Trump Foundation is ‘little more than an empty shell’ and seeks $2.8m in restitution

Tom McCarthy in New York

14, Jun, 2018 @4:01 PM

Article image
Lawsuit against Trump family charity can proceed, judge rules
Court rejects arguments of presidential immunity in case claiming charity was a campaign ‘piggy bank’

Victoria Bekiempis in New York

23, Nov, 2018 @9:09 PM

Article image
Trump strikes deal to evade deposition in New York investigation – for now
Agreement with attorney general Letitia James covers two eldest children but seeks to speed up civil legal proceedings

Guardian staff and agencies

04, Mar, 2022 @12:00 AM

Article image
New York civil fraud suit could bring down the Trump Organization
Restrictions sought by Letitia James include bans on Trump and his children that would tear his real estate empire from his control

Hugo Lowell in New York

22, Sep, 2022 @5:00 AM

Article image
Donald Trump to testify in New York investigation into his business practices
Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr will also testify in attorney general Letitia James’ inquiry into Trump Organization

Chris Stein

08, Jun, 2022 @8:23 PM

Article image
Trump and two eldest children must testify in New York case, judge rules
Ruling forces ex-president, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr to comply with subpoenas as Letitia James investigates Trump Organization

Ed Pilkington in New York

18, Feb, 2022 @12:47 AM

Article image
Russia investigation may turn to Ivanka Trump as Mueller examines empire
Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena for documents from the Trump Organization, where Ivanka Trump has played a leading role

Stephanie Kirchgaessner

17, Mar, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
‘I’m not sure he’s going to escape jail’: could Trump’s legal woes prevent a 2024 run?
New York civil lawsuit accusing Trump and three of his children of ‘staggering’ fraud could derail presidential bid, experts say

David Smith in Washington

22, Sep, 2022 @5:00 AM