In a four-page order, the court found that a lower court “properly rejected appellants’ arguments that the subpoenas issued by the OAG should be quashed.”
The appeals court said the parallel criminal investigation conducted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office doesn’t stop New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, from pursuing her civil investigation, including testimony.
Alan Futerfas, an attorney for Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, said they are “considering the decision.”
Ronald Fischetti, an attorney for Trump, had no immediate comment. Alina Habba, another attorney for Trump, could not immediately be reached. The Trumps could further appeal the ruling.
The ruling comes just two weeks after the appellate panel expressed skepticism during oral arguments on the deposition dispute. During the hearing, Judge Rolando Acosta asked Trumps’ attorney about their Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions: “What prevents you from just invoking it? Why do we need to intervene in this case or constrain the authority given to the attorney general?”
The Trumps have argued that James is trying to end-run the grand jury process, where witnesses receive transactional immunity for their testimony in New York. The lower court judge rejected that argument saying they could invoke the Fifth, a ruling the appeals court agreed with.
It isn’t clear if the Trumps will answer specific questions when deposed. In a civil case, the jury can draw an “adverse inference” and hold it against individuals who don’t answer questions.
Eric Trump was previously deposed by the New York attorney general’s office and declined to answer questions, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 500 times.
On Thursday James applauded the appeals court decision.
“A court has once again ruled in our favor and ordered Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump to appear before my office to testify under oath. Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law,” James tweeted in response to the ruling.