New York Attorney General Letitia James Asks Judge To Force Eric Trump To Testify In Investigation Of President’s Finances
New York State Attorney General Letitia James asked a State Supreme Court judge to compel Eric Trump and the Trump Organization to comply with seven subpoenas and testify under oath, court documents released Monday show.
The move comes as New York ups its investigation into allegations of fraud by the Trump Organization. Court filings early in August indicated that New York’s investigation was not limited to alleged campaign finance violations from hush-money payments made to women who reportedly had affairs with then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.
New York prosecutors told a judge “there were public allegations of possible criminal activity at Plaintiff’s New York County-based Trump Organization dating back over a decade.”
“These reports describe transactions involving individual and corporate actors based in New York County, but whose conduct at times extended beyond New York’s borders,” the lawyers said. “This possible criminal activity occurred within the applicable statutes of limitations, particularly if the transactions involved a continuing pattern of conduct.”
James is looking into whether the Trump Organization inflated their assets “to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits,” the new filing showed.
Eric Trump canceled a scheduled testimony, telling James’ office they were going “beyond the scope” of a civil inquiry, according to the court documents.
The attorney general’s office told the Trump Organization they had not referred the case to “another criminal law enforcement agency,” but that still could be a possibility if James’ office finds evidence of criminal activity.
The investigation largely stems from claims former Trump fixer Michael Cohen made under oath.
“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” Cohen during his 2019 congressional testimony, citing several properties in which this occurred without strong corroborating evidence.
The attorney general’s office is reviewing several Trump properties Cohen mentioned, including the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, 40 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, which were all subjects of the subpoenas.
The office is reviewing a 2010 debt restructuring for the Trump hotel in Chicago, where the Fortress Credit Corporation forgave over $100 million in debt and the valuation of the Seven Springs estate.
Trump purchased the property for $7.5 million in 1996, valued it at $291 million on his 2012 balance sheet, but said in an ethics filing six years later that it was not worth ore than $50 million.
James’ office has also requested that Trump Organization lawyer Charles Martabono and a Trump tax lawyer Sheri Dillon testify under oath, as Trump continues to block efforts to obtain his tax returns.