- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Former President Donald Trump and two of his adult children are appealing New York state Attorney General Letitia James’s attempt to depose them as part of her investigation into the family business.

The Trumps filed court papers Monday that said Ms. James should bring them before a state grand jury because witnesses can negotiate some level of legal immunity, according to CNN.

A lower court ordered Mr. Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. to sit for depositions, where they would be expected to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights not to testify against themselves.

But attorneys for the Trump family worry about negative inferences from their silence and the impact of civil depositions on a parallel criminal investigation into whether the Trumps’ real estate companies inflated or suppressed the value of properties based on their needs with lenders and other entities.

The Trumps’ attorneys said their clients’ statutory protections will be “eviscerated if the same agency involved in the criminal investigation simply opens up a ‘civil’ investigation into the very same matters.”

Ms. James said in January she has evidence the Trump Organization used misleading statements and omissions in its financial statements to obtain economic benefits, “including loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions.”

A criminal investigation has run into major hurdles, however.

Two top prosecutors on the assignment resigned after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said he was not prepared to prepare an indictment against the Trumps.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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