New York AG Letitia James Just Dropped Some Very, VERY Bad News for Donald Trump
It is confusing.
There are so many cases against Donald Trump (and not nearly enough, Merrick Garland!) even just counting cases in the state of New York that one can lose track of what case is what.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office started a criminal investigation after Stormy Daniels reported the bag of cash that Michael Cohen gave her, which eventually turned into a case looking into whether or not Donald Trump evaded taxes to a criminal extent, and they took that case all the way to the Supreme Court. One cannot subpoena someone for a criminal trial. A defendant can voluntarily speak to the police, but the police cannot subpoena a defendant.
The New York state A.G. filed a civil suit against Donald Trump to see if he was hiding tax income to a civil extent, where the state could force him to pay back taxes with a civil judgment and in a civil case, the plaintiff can force a defendant to come in and testify. Absent some appeal – and those usually come after the case, Trump has to honor the subpoena.
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James has requested Trump sit for a deposition on January 7 per the Washington Post. As the Post notes, the deposition “marks an escalation in the probe of the former president’s company,” which in July was charged, alongside its longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg, with more than a dozen felonies, including conspiracy, grand larceny, and multiple counts of tax fraud and falsifying records.
It will be interesting whether he desperately tries to appeal it (likely) only to be booted back fairly fast (likely) and then see if he answers every question with “I don’t remember,” or “I didn’t bring my glasses, I can’t read that” (there is a video of him testifying at a civil suit in which he answers with, “I can’t see it, I didn’t bring my glasses, reading glasses”), or whether he takes the 5th Amendment. He has to answer a civil subpoena, but he never has to answer a question that might incriminate, he can always “take the fifth,” which would be smart in a civil suit.
Because answers under oath in one suit can be used as evidence to charge him in that very case and turn it into a criminal case, very quickly.