It is not clear how quickly the appeals court will rule. Under the lower court ruling, the former President, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump were ordered to sit for depositions by March 10.
The Trumps have argued that if New York Attorney General Letitia James wants their testimony, she should bring them before a state grand jury investigating the Trump Organization. The Trump lawyers claimed that she is trying to end-run the grand jury process, where witnesses receive transactional immunity for their testimony in New York.
In a civil case, the jury can draw an “adverse inference” and hold it against individuals who don’t answer questions.
During a recent court hearing in the civil case, Ronald Fischetti, an attorney for Donald Trump, argued that if the former President declined to answer questions, it would be on the front pages of newspapers, which would make it harder for them to find an unbiased jury, if it came to that.
In January, James said her office had found “significant” evidence “indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions.” On the financial statements, she alleged, there were numerous “misleading statements and omissions.”
The burden of proof in civil investigations is lower than for criminal investigations. To bring a criminal case, prosecutors would need evidence of Trump’s state of mind and whether he intended to mislead or defraud anyone when he made statements embellishing the value of his properties.
CNN’s Paula Reid and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.