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NY high court nixes Trump appeal, clearing way for testimony

Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump
Donald Trump, left, his son Donald Trump Jr., center, and his daughter Ivanka Trump speak during the unveiling of the design for the Trump International Hotel in the The Old Post Office, in Washington, on Sept. 10, 2013. The former, his namesake son and his daughter have agreed to answer questions under oath next month in the New York attorney general’s civil investigation into his business practices, unless their lawyers persuade the state’s highest court to step in. A Manhattan judge signed off Wednesday, June 8, 2022, on an agreement that calls for the Trumps to give depositions — a legal term for sworn, pretrial testimony out of court — starting July 15.
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

New York’s highest court rejected former President Donald Trump’s last-ditch effort to avoid testifying in the state attorney general’s civil investigation into his business practices on Tuesday, clearing the way for his deposition next month.

The state’s Court of Appeals said there was no “substantial constitutional question” that would warrant its intervention in the matter following an intermediate appellate court’s ruling last month enforcing a subpoena for Trump’s testimony.

The court also dismissed a motion by Trump’s lawyers to stay the subpoenas, saying that doing so would be “academic,” since it wasn’t taking up the former president’s appeal in the first place.

Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., agreed last week to answer questions under oath starting July 15 unless the Court of Appeals decided to step in.

A messages seeking comment on Tuesday’s ruling was sent to Trump’s lawyer. Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., declined comment. A message was also left with a spokesperson for Attorney General Letitia James.

The appellate division of the state’s trial court ruled May 26 that the Trumps had to undergo a deposition, upholding a lower court’s ruling that James’ office had “the clear right” to question Trump and certain other figures in his company, the Trump Organization.

James has said her three-year investigation has uncovered evidence that the Trump Organization exaggerated the value of assets including skyscrapers, golf courses and even his Manhattan penthouse to get loans, insurance and tax breaks for land donations.

A lawyer for her office told a judge last month that evidence could support legal action against the former president, his company or both, though the attorney said no decision had been made.

Trump has decried the investigation as part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” against him.

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