Within the next three weeks

The crook and his crook kids have to testify.

Donald Trump and two of his children have been ordered by a New York judge to appear for a deposition within the next three weeks, as part of the billowing investigation over alleged fraud in the valuation of assets belonging to his family business.

The ruling by Judge Arthur Engoron to force Trump and his two eldest children – Donald Jr and Ivanka – to comply with subpoenas amounts to a sharp escalation of the legal perils that are rapidly tightening around the former president.

I know, I know, he keeps getting away with it, but you know, you can play with fire 153 times and not get burned and that still doesn’t mean you won’t get burned the next time. He’s gotten away with it before (though not entirely) but it doesn’t follow that he’ll inevitably get away with it forever. Jeffrey Epstein got away with it until he didn’t.

Following a two-hour hearing on Thursday, Engoron delivered a blunt rebuttal to arguments put forward by Trump lawyers that the former president should not be subjected to questioning in the civil case because the information could be used against him in criminal proceedings that are running in parallel. The judge went so far as to say that had James not subpoenaed them, it would have been “a blatant dereliction of duty”.

Responding to the news, [NY Attorney General Letitia] James said that it showed that “no one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are”.

And Trump isn’t all that powerful now. He’s not president any more.

He can plead the Fifth Amendment but that has its own problems.

In legal arguments before Engoron delivered his decision, lawyers for Trump argued that he could not feasibly plead the fifth without hurting his potential criminal defense.

“If he goes in and follows my advice, which will be you cannot answer these questions without … immunity because that’s what the law provides, and take the fifth amendment, that’ll be on every front page in the newspaper in the world. And how can I possibly pick a jury in that case?” said Ronald Fischetti, Trump’s criminal defense lawyer.

Politically, the deposition is also likely to be awkward. In the past, Trump has poured scorn on those who remain silent under questioning. During his 2016 presidential election campaign, he ridiculed the practice, saying “the mob takes the fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the fifth amendment?”

Oops.

The James investigation, combined with its criminal Manhattan equivalent, are now top of the league of a plethora of legal troubles facing the former occupant of the White House. A Guardian tally this month found that Trump was facing a total of 19 legal challenges, six of which involve alleged financial irregularities.

Well at least he won’t get bored.

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