Court Battles

New York attorney general investigating Trump over financial statements

New York state Attorney General Letitia James (D) is investigating whether President Trump illegally inflated his assets to attract investors and earn loans, her office revealed in court documents Monday.

James asked a judge to force the president’s son, Eric Trump, and the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas as part of the investigation. Her office said in the court filings that the investigation is ongoing and authorities haven’t determined whether the president’s businesses violated the law.

“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. That’s why we’ve filed a motion to compel the Trump Organization to comply with our office’s lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony. These questions will be answered and the truth will be uncovered, because no one is above the law.”

The New York attorney general opened the investigation in March 2019 after the president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, testified to Congress that President Trump had altered the value of his assets in financial statements in order to get loans, better insurance rates and tax breaks.

The new court filing is significantly redacted and the attorney general’s office said it would seek to keep much of its material under seal to protect its investigation.

James is accusing Eric Trump of refusing to comply with a subpoena for his testimony, and alleging that the Trump Organization and its lawyers are improperly invoking attorney-client privilege to shield thousands of documents from investigators.

“The Trump Organization has done nothing wrong and, as the motion papers clearly state, the NYAG has made no determination that anything was improper or that any action is forthcoming,” Kimberly Benza, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement. “While we have tried to cooperate in good faith with the investigation at every turn, 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. We will respond to this motion as appropriate.”

The court documents submitted Monday show that the attorney general is investigating the valuation of several Trump properties including the Seven Springs resort in Westchester County, N.Y.; an office building on Wall Street in New York City; the Trump International Hotel in Chicago; and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

According to the filings, Eric Trump had agreed to sit for a deposition last month, but the Trump Organization decided to stop his testimony just days before it was scheduled.

James’s office said in the court documents that “Eric Trump was intimately involved in the Trump Organization’s development efforts on the Seven Springs site” though it redacted what appears to be a passage detailing that involvement.

The attorney general is also seeking documents from the Trump properties at the center of the investigation and from attorneys working for the organization.

The president has gone to court repeatedly to keep his financial records out of investigators’ hands. He is currently litigating subpoenas from Congress and the Manhattan district attorney for his tax returns and other financial records.

—Updated at 4:35 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Eric Trump Letitia James Michael Cohen New York New York attorney general's office President Trump's finances Trump Organization

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