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New York Attorney General Asks Court to Subpoena Trump Organization Members, Including President’s Son

— August 27, 2020

Investigators believed President Donald Trump may have grossly inflated the value of Trump Organization properties to win favorable bank loans and insurance terms.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has asked a court to enforce subpoenas against the Trump Organization.

On Friday, writes POLITICO, James requested the State Supreme Court in Manhattan to compel Eric Trump to testify as part of an investigation into Trump Organization holdings. According to James and the attorney general’s office, the Trump family business has withheld or redacted “thousands of responsive, non-privileged documents” necessary for the valuation of four different properties.

Furthermore, the Trump Organization has refused to let any of its leading members offer testimony.

Eric Trump., adds POLITICO, was scheduled to provide testimony to the James’s office last month. But he backed out of a planned interview with two days’ notice. Since then, the Trump Organization has been largely noncompliant, saying Eric Trump is shielded from pertinent subpoenas “by those rights afforded to every individual under the Constitution.”

Eric Trump is President Donald Trump’s third-oldest child and executive vice president of the Trump Organization.

While James has been insistent on moving forward with the investigation, the Trump Organization has framed recent events as yet another development in a simple legal proceeding.

“This is simply a discovery dispute over documents and the like,” Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten told POLITICO in an e-mail. “As the motion papers clearly state, the NYAG has made no determination that anything was improper or that any action is forthcoming. We will respond to this motion as appropriate.”

New York Attorney General and former city council member Letitia James. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:Matthew Cohen. (CCA-BY-2.0).

Garten also said that the attorney general’s probe—concurrent with other state- and city-level attacks on the Trump Organization—is politically motivated.

“The Trump Organization has done nothing wrong,” Garten said. “The NYAG’s continued harassment of the company as we approach the election (and filing of this motion on the first day of the Republican National Convention) once again confirms that this investigation is all about politics.”

But if the court backs James’s petition, the New York Attorney General’s Office could access sensitive tax documents.

That information, says The Guardian, sheds light not only on the organization’s finances but on whether the President’s family misrepresented the value of their assets to dodge taxes or win loans. If either case can be evidenced, prosecutors may be able to charge the Trump Organization—and its leadership—with fraud.

Of central importance to James’s investigation is Trump’s Seven Springs estate. James has alleged that President Trump, and the Trump Organization, inflated the property’s value for personal gain.

The probe was kicked off following former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s 2019 testimony to Congress, in which Cohen swore under oath that the President overvalued his assets in financial statement to acquire favorable bank loans and better insurance terms.

On Monday, James said that her office will continue “following the facts and the law, wherever they may lead.”

“For months, the Trump organization has made baseless claims in an effort to shield evidence from a lawful investigation into its financial dealings,” James said in a statement. “They have stalled, withheld documents, and instructed witnesses, including Eric Trump, to refuse to answer questions under oath. These questions will be answered and the truth will be uncovered, because no one is above the law.”

According to Reuters, the Trump Organization has also been fighting Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who is trying to enforce a criminal subpoena that could reveal eight years of the President’s tax returns.


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