Letitia James, the New York attorney general, has requested Trump sit for a deposition by January 7, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the request.
The attorney general’s office is investigating whether the Trump Organization manipulated the value of its properties. They are working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office on a parallel criminal investigation into the Trump Organization. The two investigations are separate, but some attorneys from James’ office have been designated to work on the criminal investigation, which is ongoing.
The deposition sought by James “is not part of the criminal investigation,” said Danny Frost, a spokesman for Cy Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in a statement: “This is another political witch-hunt.”
“New York is being overrun by violence, children are being shot in Times Square, arsonists are setting Christmas decorations ablaze and homelessness is through the roof, yet the only focus of the New York AG is to investigate Trump, all for her own political ambitions as she attempts to run for Governor. This political prosecution is illegal, unethical and is a travesty to our great state and legal system,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesman for James’ office declined to comment.
James, who said in October she would run for governor of New York before suspending her campaign Thursday, could file a civil lawsuit against Trump or the Trump Organization if she finds civil wrongdoing.
Trump may fight the request for his deposition given the ongoing criminal investigation, which James’ office is a party to. Trump could refuse to answer questions in a criminal investigation, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In a civil inquiry, if he declines to answer questions, the judge or jury could make a negative adverse inference in weighing his liability.