Dec 09, 2021
This is a breaking story... Please check back for possible updates...
New York Attorney General Letitia James seeks to question former President Donald Trump under oath for her investigation into possible fraud within the Trump Organization, multiple media outlets revealed Thursday.
The Washington Post--which broke the news, citing unnamed sources--reported that James requested a deposition at her New York office on January 7. A spokesperson for the attorney general declined to comment and representatives for Trump did not respond to the newspaper's requests.
\u201c\ud83d\udc40 NY\u2019s AG has noticed Trump\u2019s deposition for 1/7: \u201c\u2018He can\u2019t be scripted & he\u2019s injudicious & he often doesn\u2019t understand that the process is about events & facts, rather than being performance art,\u2019 said Tim O\u2019Brien, a Trump biographer who sued him.\u201d https://t.co/E5q7YP850x\u201d— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene) 1639064831
Calling the development "an escalation we've been expecting," Los Angeles Times legal affairs columnist Harry Litman said, "His lawyers have to know he would be a disaster but on what basis can he, an ordinary citizen now, try to resist?"
The New York AG's office is also participating in the criminal probe spearheaded by Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney.
The New York Timesexplained how Vance's investigation could interfere with James' attempt to secure Trump's testimony:
[James'] request comes as Mr. Vance is pushing to determine whether Mr. Trump or his family business, the Trump Organization, engaged in a pattern of criminal fraud by intentionally submitting false property values to potential lenders. Mr. Vance, a Democrat, did not seek reelection and is leaving office at the end of the year.
And because the two investigations overlap--both Ms. James and Mr. Vance are focused on whether Mr. Trump inflated his property values to secure financing, and their offices are working together--Mr. Trump could refuse to sit for a deposition once Ms. James formally subpoenas him.
His lawyers could ask a judge to block the deposition, arguing that Mr. Trump's testimony could be unfairly used against him in the criminal investigation, violating his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
Amid speculation that attorneys for the former president may also point to James' bid to serve as New York's next Democratic governor as motivation for her request--as the Trump Organization did in a statement to the Post--James suspended her campaign and announced she would instead seek reelection as AG.
"I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general," she tweeted, noting that "there are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway."
\u201cI have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general. \n\nThere are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job.\n\nI am running for re-election to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do.\u201d— Tish James (@Tish James) 1639069216
The Trump Organization had said that "this is another political witch hunt."
"The only focus of the New York AG is to investigate Trump, all for her own political ambitions," the statement added. "This political prosecution is illegal, unethical, and is a travesty to our great state and legal system."
Noting the Post report, Tim O'Brien--author of the biography TrumpNation: The Art of Being Donald--tweeted that "Trump's biggest liability when he sits for depositions is that he's a pathologic liar. His lawyers have some work to do."
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.