New York to quiz Trump over alleged campaign finance violations

New York’s attorney general filed a legal notice to depose Donald Trump in February next year, seeking his testimony about his alleged violations of the state’s 2010 election law, the latest in a series of moves by state authorities seeking to hold Trump accountable for his business and real estate empire.

The attorney general’s office said in a notice to Trump’s attorneys it planned to file its request at the 11th hour on 21 February 2019, less than four months before the midterm elections in which Trump hopes to maintain his control of the Republican party and of the federal government. The timetable will create a window for defense teams for Trump, the president’s children Donald Jr, Eric, Ivanka and Trump Jr and lawyer Sheri Dillon to prepare for possible cross-examination of Trump.

Quick guide Can Trump be charged for fraud? Show Hide The exact charge the special counsel Robert Mueller will take to court will depend on the law that applies and the particular facts uncovered by his investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump’s presidential campaign. The charge may relate to corruption or fraud or to a combination of the two. Loading Because the US legal system deals primarily in prosecutions and not impeachment, it is necessary to refer to the necessary laws, in this case the election law New York used to prosecute Trump. The constitutionality of these elections laws would be at issue in any trial and would help determine whether Trump is guilty of violating any provisions.

A spokesman for Trump said it was “completely standard practice” to ask Trump’s attorney general to review these types of requests and his office would do the same.

“The AG’s civil inquiry is designed to pervert the course of justice through the appointment of an ‘independent counsel,'” Marc Kasowitz, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement. “This unnecessary action is aimed at delivering access to confidential information relating to the President’s business dealings, without due process, for no legitimate purpose.”

New York law permits attorney general Eric Schneiderman to seek the legal notice to depose Trump in a civil probe of a case, even if the person being subpoenaed had not yet been accused of wrongdoing. Trump’s three adult children, however, are charged with felonies for failing to register as foreign agents with the US government.

Trump and his adult children are among 16 people Mueller has subpoenaed for documents as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. The investigation, led by the former FBI director Mueller, has already produced a wide-ranging federal investigation into how Russia sought to interfere in the election and what contacts there were between Trump associates and Russian officials.

Trump insists on his innocence and says he will defend himself “vigorously” through a “big legal team” of attorneys that he reportedly has engaged at various times over the past year to try to head off potential charges brought against him and his family.

Trump claimed Mueller had already made up his mind to indict him “for a terrible crime”, possibly of obstruction of justice. The president also suggested Russia was not responsible for election meddling.

Schneiderman, a Democrat who earlier accused Trump of “cheating America” by trying to stop special counsel Robert Mueller investigating possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, first filed a lawsuit against Trump in October 2017, alleging that Trump broke campaign finance laws by knowingly concealing payments to fixer Michael Cohen to cover up a sexual affair he had with a porn star.

Trump has not been charged with any crime by federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York, despite being named in a sprawling 36-count indictment against Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, that also charged him with tax evasion and other crimes. Cohen is cooperating with prosecutors and entered a guilty plea in which he implicated Trump in arranging the $130,000 payment to Daniels, which was made days before the 2016 election as part of a hush agreement over her alleged affair with Trump.

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