Ivanka Trump and Don Jr. slapped with subpoenas, refuse to comply with fraud investigation

2022 is off to an apparent bang

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published January 3, 2022 1:55PM (EST)

Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Letitia James (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Letitia James (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Donald Trump's eldest children have been subpoenaed by New York Attorney General Letitia James as part of her civil investigation into the Trump Organization's finances, asking both Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump to provide private testimony. 

The subpoena was originally issued on December 1, according to a document filed Monday. As The New York Times points out, that is when it was first revealed that the former president had been asked to sit down with James' legal team. According to Monday's court filing, both Don Jr. and Ivanka Trump appear to be challenging the move. The two will now be named as respondents in James' ongoing inquiry.

RELATED: New York Attorney General eyeing early January deposition of Trump: report

Over the years, all three children have been extensively involved in the former president's eponymous business. Ivanka Trump joined the Trump Organization as an executive vice president back in 2005 and resigned from her post in 2017. Donald Trump Jr. serves as a trustee for the company in addition to executive vice president. 

Before assuming the presidency, Donald Trump handed the keys to his two sons and Allen H. Weisselberg, the company's longtime chief financial officer who stands accused of raking in $1.7 million worth of company perks during a 15-year tax avoidance scheme. 

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

The state's civil probe is aimed at gathering information into Trump's alleged inflation and deflation of certain business assets for tax and lending purposes, including his Seven Springs estate in Westchester County and the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago. 

James' investigators are working in parallel with a criminal inquiry led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who indicted Weisseberg back in September. Vance's probe, which spans three years, was joined by James back in May. 

Throughout the years, Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly sought to downplay and delegitimize both of the probes. In a lawsuit against James filed last Monday, the former president alleged that the attorney general is "guided solely by political animus and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen who she views as a political opponent." The suit cited numerous criticisms James leveled at Trump over social media during his time as president. 

"Neither Mr. Trump nor the Trump Organization get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions," James said in response.

RELATED: Trump sues to stop New York Attorney General investigating him for fraud

Neither Trump nor his family members have been formally charged with any criminal wrongdoing. Donald Trump's son, Eric, who serves as the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, was questioned in the case back in October 2020. If the eldest Trump children do not comply with the attorney general's subpoenas, James can take them to court and legally compel them to appear for an interview. 

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik was a former staff writer at Salon.

MORE FROM Jon Skolnik