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Eric Trump

Photo by Nikolas Liepins via NSPA & ACP 2020/ CC BY-NC 2.0

Judge Arthur Engoron of the Manhattan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Eric Trump must testify in the New York Attorney General's investigation of potential civil fraud by the Trump Organization — before the presidential election.

Last week, the younger Trump agreed to be deposed in the case, which seeks to determine whether the Trump Organization inflated or skewed its assets for tax reasons, or to obtain business loans. But his lawyers argued that the deposition should be delayed until after the election Nov. 3, citing his "extreme travel schedule" on the campaign trail and a desire to "to avoid the use of his deposition attendance for political purposes."

In Wednesday's ruling, Engoron rejected this argument, noting that "Mr. Trump cites no authority in support of his request, and at any event, neither petitioner nor this court is bound by timelines of the national election."

The ruling mandates that Trump appear for an interview under oath with the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James no later than Oct. 7.

James opened the probe last year after Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's longtime lawyer and "fixer," testified to Congress that the elder Trump had allegedly overstated assets in order to get tax benefits and loans.

Eric Trump skirted seven different subpoenas to testify about the allegations under oath, prompting James to request in late August that a judge require the president's son to stop stalling the investigation and comply.

That same day, the younger Trump tweeted that "without any basis ... [James] has pledged to take my father down from the moment she ran for office." In his tweet, he accused the state attorney general of prosecutorial misconduct and claimed that the fraud accusations were "purposely dropped on the eve of the Republican Convention for political points."

"Sad that this is her focus as New York burns," he concluded.

Donald Trump and the Trump Organization are currently facing other legal woes. Cy Vance Jr., Manhattan's district attorney, continues to fight in federal court for Trump's tax returns, and Vance's office announced in August it would also be conducting a broad probe into the Trump Organization for potential bank and insurance fraud.

After Engoron's Wednesday ruling, James said in a public statement that "justice and the rule of law prevailed today," and added that her office would at once move forward to ensure that Eric Trump complied with the court's ruling.

"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 said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundati

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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