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Judge Rules Trump Must Testify In NY Trump Org. Fraud Probe—And He's Not Handling It Too Well

Judge Rules Trump Must Testify In NY Trump Org. Fraud Probe—And He's Not Handling It Too Well
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The long-running fraud investigation into former Republican President Donald Trump and his company took a new turn Thursday when a judge in the Manhattan Supreme Court denied Trump's motion to evade subpoenas relevant to the investigation.

Now, not only Trump himself but also his right- and left-hand people, daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr., will be required to testify under oath in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ sprawling investigation.

And as usual, Trump is taking it about as well as you'd imagine. In a lengthy statement issued by Liz Harrington, the spokesperson he hired in order to circumvent his lifelong Twitter ban, Trump melted down over the decision and somehow managed to make it about his biggest obsession: Democratic Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Read his statement below.

In his statement, Trump dramatically called AG James' investigation unconstitutional and claimed it was motivated by her and "Radical Left Democrats'" personal hatred of him.

He wrote:

“THERE IS NO CASE!... It is a continuation of the greatest witch-hunt in history and remember, I can’t get a fair hearing in New York because of the hatred of me by judges and the judiciary. It is not possible”

Trump's lawyers argued that in addition to AG James' supposed hatred of Trump, he and his family should also not be compelled to comply with her civil case because the depositions will almost certainly be used against him in an ongoing parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron wasn't having any of it.

In his eight-page ruling, Engoron dismissed the notion that AG James' case was in any way discriminatory, and said given the "copious evidence of possible financial fraud" it would have been "a blatant dereliction of duty" for her not to have subpoenaed Trump and his two eldest children. The ruling requires Donald, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. to be deposed within 21 days.

Trump is all but certain to appeal Engoron's ruling--a gambit legal experts say is likely to fail, too--because just as his lawyers argued would happen, he is in an untenable position.

Answering AG James' questions is likely to damage Trump's political aspirations and his and his children's answers will be used against him in his criminal case. If they plead the fifth instead, the plea will be used against Trump in James' civil case as an admission of guilt and hobble his lawyers' ability to mount a defense in his parallel criminal case.

On Twitter, Engoron's ruling was met with celebration and no shortage of schadenfreude.

This saga is far from over, but whether or not they ever actually crush him, the walls are definitely closing in on Donald Trump.