Eric Trump gave ‘false’ reason for dodging deposition, NY attorney general says

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NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s son Eric gave a judge a “false” explanation for why he backed out of a July deposition in a civil probe of the family business, New York’s top law enforcement officer said Tuesday in a court filing.

The state has been seeking sworn testimony from Eric Trump for months as part of a probe of asset valuations at the Trump Organization, where he’s an executive vice president. After New York took legal action in August to enforce a slate of subpoenas, Trump’s lawyer said his client had simply adjourned the deposition to get “certain assurances first.”

“This assertion is false,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a court filing Tuesday night in Manhattan. Trump gave his “categorical refusal to appear” through a July 27 letter from his lawyer, she said.

James said Trump’s explanation about his failure to appear is also contradicted by his own public statements after she took legal action to enforce the subpoenas, which Trump and the family business argue seek privileged information. She cited a Fox News Radio interview in which Trump said, “Why would you possibly comply” with such demands.

The Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has already been deposed, though his questioning in July was allegedly cut short when he was asked whether he had testified before a federal grand jury. When Eric Trump backed out of his deposition, his lawyers implied it was because Weisselberg’s questioning went beyond the scope of a civil probe, James has said.

Trump attorney Alan Garten didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. He previously called the legal action a “discovery dispute” that James had amplified for political advantage.

New York’s Tuesday filing acknowledged Trump’s agreement after the suit was filed to sit for a deposition on four proposed dates after the Nov. 3 election, including Thanksgiving Day. But James said there’s no precedent for letting the subject of a subpoena delay that long. Trump said he would be too busy during his father’s reelection campaign.

“If every witness were permitted to delay subpoena compliance for six full months on a claim of personal inconvenience, law enforcement investigations would be irretrievably delayed — which is why no such rule exists,” James said.


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