NEW YORK — Donald Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, have agreed to testify starting July 15 in a New York state civil investigation into the former U.S. president’s business practices.
The Trumps’ testimony could last through the following week, according to an agreement with state Attorney General Letitia James made public on Wednesday. James is investigating whether the Trump Organization misled lenders and tax authorities.
The deal came more than six months after James first issued subpoenas for their testimony, which the Trumps fought bitterly in court. Last month, an intermediate state appeals court denied the Trumps’ bid to avoid testimony in James’ probe.
Trump, 75, and the children, both in their 40s, had argued that testifying in the civil probe would violate their constitutional rights because their words could be used in a related criminal investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of Trump’s family company, was charged with tax fraud in the Manhattan probe last year. He has pleaded not guilty and is set to go on trial in the fall.
James says her more-than-three-year investigation has found evidence that the Trump Organization – which manages hotels, golf courses and other real estate throughout the world – overstated asset values to obtain benefits such as favorable loans and understated the values to get tax breaks.
Trump, a Republican, has denied wrongdoing, and called the investigation politically motivated. James is a Democrat.
In April, a New York judge, Arthur Engoron, held Trump in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena from James.
Trump had said he had no documents that were relevant to James’ probe, a claim Engoron said he found “surprising.”
The former president paid a $110,000 fine to conditionally lift the contempt order, a sum being held in escrow pending Trump’s appeal.
Last month, a federal judge in the state capital of Albany dismissed a separate lawsuit by Trump seeking to halt James’ probe on the ground that she was politically biased. The judge found no evidence that James acted in bad faith.
The Trumps have until June 13 to ask New York state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to further delay any testimony in James’ probe. The testimony would be postponed if that court issued a stay. (Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Howard Goller)
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