Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. sat for depositions as part of New York probe into Trump Organization finances

Trump Jr., who leads the Trump Organization with his brother Eric Trump, did not affirm the Fifth Amendment and answered questions from the state, one of the people said. It is not known what he was asked or how he answered the questions.

Former President Donald Trump is expected to testify later this month.

An attorney for Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump declined to comment, and representatives for the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment. The New York Attorney General’s office declined to comment.

The depositions raise the legal stakes for members of the Trump family as they face two investigations, one civil and one criminal, into the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s financial statements.

The former president and the Trump Organization have previously denied any wrongdoing and called the civil investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, politically motivated.

In January, James’ office said it found “significant” evidence that the Trump Organization used false or misleading asset valuations in its financial statements to obtain loans, insurance and tax benefits.

Trump Jr.’s decision to answer state questions breaks with that of Eric Trump and former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who both asserted their Fifth Amendment rights when they were submitted in 2020.

In a civil case, the jury can draw an “adverse inference” and hold it against people who don’t answer the questions.

That’s not the only math at play. There have been discussions about the stigma of asserting the Fifth Amendment and how that would play out politically, said one of the people familiar with the matter.

By answering the questions, Trump Jr. increases his potential legal exposure. He was involved with several properties, including 40 Wall Street, and certified the accuracy of financial statements from 2017, the attorney general’s office said. Ivanka Trump was a key liaison with Deutsche Bank, which loaned the Trump Organization more than $300 million.

The financial statements were prepared by accountants inside and outside the Trump Organization. There is also debate over how properties have been valued given the flexibility of assessments. The valuations were endorsed by longtime Trump appraiser Cushman & Wakefield, which is also under investigation.

The firm, which cut ties with Trump after Jan. 6, 2021, has denied any wrongdoing. The banks, which provided the financing, also did not lose money on the loans they took out.

The New York Attorney General’s investigation is at an advanced stage. Lawyers for the office have said publicly that they expect to take enforcement action, but will engage in discussions with the Trump Organization before a decision is made.

Investigators interviewed numerous current and former Trump Organization executives and employees, including Donald Trump’s former aide, Rhona Graff, and several finance and accounting department executives.
James’ office subpoenaed the Trumps late last year. They decided to block subpoenas in court, arguing that they shouldn’t have to sit for depositions while there was a criminal investigation. The court rejected their arguments, saying that a criminal investigation does not preclude a civil investigation from obtaining evidence. The former president was also charged with contempt and fined $110,000 for failing to comply with a subpoena. The judge lifted the contempt order in June.
The criminal investigation, led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, has slowed but not stopped. Earlier this year, Bragg would not allow prosecutors to present evidence to a state grand jury after expressing concerns about the strength of the case, CNN reported. A special grand jury hearing evidence in the case expired in April, but a new one could be seated in the future.

Bragg told CNN in an April interview, “Anytime you have a parallel civil and criminal investigation, if there’s any testimony in that proceeding, obviously we’ll look at it.”

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. were scheduled to sit for depositions in July. He was also updated with additional background information.

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