A court has decided that former US President Donald Trump and two of his children must testify under oath in a New York probe into their business activities.
The Trump Organization has been charged by New York’s attorney general of receiving tax benefits and loans through “fraudulent or deceptive asset assessments.”
Within 21 days, Mr. Trump must provide sworn testimony.
He disputes the allegations and is expected to file an appeal.
In any deposition, he might potentially use his right to stay quiet.
“The entire system is rotten,” the Trump Organization claimed in a statement to reporters.
Judge Arthur Engoron of the New York Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Mr. Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., 44, and daughter Ivanka Trump, 40, must all follow the court orders given by prosecutors in December.
The court noted that Attorney General Letitia James’ probe had turned up “copious evidence of suspected financial misconduct,” giving her the “clear right” to interrogate the former president and two of his children involved in the firm under oath.
Mr Trump, 75, has branded Ms James’ probe as politically motivated and a “witch hunt.”
The probe, which began in 2019, is aimed at proving the government’s assertions that Mr Trump lied to banks about the worth of his assets when applying for loans. The scam is said to have occurred before he was elected.
Mr Trump’s lawyers sought to sue Ms James in order to stop her from interviewing the former president and his children.
“Justice has won,” Ms James said, hailing the judge’s ruling as a win.
The civil complaint is unrelated to a criminal probe of the Trump Organization’s business conduct in Manhattan.
Attorneys for Mr Trump claimed in court that testifying in the civil lawsuit would allow the state to avoid a provision that prohibits prosecutors from asking someone to testify in front of a criminal grand jury unless they have been given immunity.
Mr Trump’s defense counsel, Ronald Fischetti, stated, “If she [Ms James] wants sworn testimony from my client, he is entitled to immunity.”
“Either he gets immunity or he gets nothing for what he says.”