New York Attorney General lawsuits Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. in fraud investigation

New York Attorney General Letitia James recently sued former President Donald Trump and his two eldest children and demanded their testimony in an ongoing civil investigation into the family’s business practices, according to a court application released Monday.

The lawsuits for Trump, his son, Donald Trump Jr., and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, stem from an investigation “of the valuation of real estate owned or controlled” by Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, the report said.

Messages seeking comment were provided to attorneys for the Trump and James offices.

The Attorney General’s attempt to obtain testimony from the former president was reported in December, but the court’s report on Monday was the first public revelation that investigators were also seeking information from Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

The Trump couple are expected to file lawsuits seeking to overturn the lawsuit, creating a legal battle similar to the one that took place last year after James’ office sued another Trump son.

Trump sued James last month and tried to end the investigation after she asked him to sit for a deposit on January 7. Trump’s lawsuit, filed in federal court, claims the investigation violated his constitutional rights in a “thinly veiled attempt to publicly insult Trump and his associates.”

Monday’s court appearance was the prosecution’s first public admission that they had previously sued Trump’s testimony.

James, a Democrat, has spent more than two years looking at whether the Trump organization misled banks or tax officials about the value of assets – inflating them to get favorable loan terms or minimizing them to reap tax savings.

Last year, James’ investigators interviewed one of Trump’s sons, Trump Organization chief Eric Trump, as part of the investigation. James’ office went to court to file a lawsuit against the younger Trump, and a judge forced him to testify after his lawyers abruptly suspended a previously scheduled deposit.

Although the civil investigation is separate from a criminal investigation conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, James’ office has been involved in both. Earlier this year, former District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. gained access to the longtime real estate mogul’s tax records after a long-running battle that went twice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before leaving office at the end of last year, Vance convened a new grand jury to hear evidence as he considered whether to file more charges in the investigation, which resulted in tax fraud allegations in July against the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg.

Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to charges that he and the company evaded taxes on lucrative benefits paid to executives.

Both investigations are at least partly related to allegations made in news reports and by Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, that Trump had a history of misrepresenting the value of assets.

James’ office issued lawsuits to local governments as part of the civilian investigation into records relating to Trump’s property north of Manhattan, Seven Springs, and a tax benefit Trump received for placing land in a conservation foundation. Vance later filed lawsuits to search many of the same documents.

James’ office has also looked at similar issues concerning a Trump office building in New York City, a hotel in Chicago and a golf course near Los Angeles. Her office also won a series of court decisions that forced Trump’s companies and a law firm it hired to hand over scores of records.

(AP)

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