A New York state judge on Wednesday ordered Eric Trump to answer questions under oath within the next few weeks as part of the New York Attorney General’s civil fraud investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices.
Trump, who’s been running the company since his father Donald Trump was elected president, had sought to have his deposition delayed until after the Nov. 3rd election, citing his “extreme travel schedule and related unavailability between now and the election” and the need “to avoid the use of his deposition attendance for political purposes.”
The prosecutor’s office fought the delay, noting that investigators have been trying to interview him for months and that he’d backed out of a scheduled deposition in July.
State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron sided with Attorney General Letitia James’ office, ruling that neither her office “nor this court is bound by timelines of the national election.” Eric Trump could still appeal, in New York there are two courts higher than the Supreme Court.
In a statement after the ruling, Eric Trump said he would sit for the interview “as scheduled.”
“The New York Attorney General has called my father an ‘illegitimate’ president and pledged to take him down while she was running for office,” he said. “Her actions since demonstrate a continued political vendetta and attempt to interfere with the upcoming election. That said, since I previously agreed to appear for an interview, I will do so as scheduled.”
The judge ordered Eric Trump to appear by Oct. 7, 2020.
“Justice and the rule of law prevailed today,” James said in a statement. “No entity or individual is allowed to dictate how or when our investigation will proceed or set the parameters of a lawful investigation. The court’s order today makes clear that no one is above the law, not even an organization or an individual with the name Trump.”
James’ sprawling civil investigation is based in part on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony to Congress about the Trump Organization’s business practices. It seeks to learn whether the company’s financial filings were inflated or deflated to obtain loans or reduce potential taxes.
Allan Smith and Monica Alba