Eric Trump tries to block company fraud investigation until after election – Mother Jones

Eric Trump, the son of President Donald Trump, speaks at a campaign rally for his father, Tuesday, September 17, 2020, in Saco, Maine. AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty

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Eric Trump has said he will now cooperate with an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James to determine whether the Trump organization committed tax and bank fraud, but only after the election.

Last month James filed a motion to compel Eric Trump and the Trump Organization must comply with subpoenas his office has issued for details of the company’s financial history. Specifically, she is trying to determine whether the president and his company twisted the finances of the Trump Organization to get better loans and tax breaks.

The investigation is also focusing on whether Donald Trump paid taxes on more than $ 100 million in canceled debts. Trump borrowed $ 120 million from private equity fund Fortress Investment Group in 2006. In 2012, when the unpaid amount he owed had swelled to around $ 150 million, he convinced Fortress to settle for $ 48 million. dollars. The rest of the debt has been written off. At that time, Trump said at least once publicly that he had purchased a loan from a lender. (When a loan is canceled, the borrower owes a hefty tax bill, but if he buys it, the borrower can defer that tax liability at least temporarily.) Since running for president, Trump posted a mysterious debt to his personal account. the financial disclosure that he claims to owe to himself; it is worth $ 50 million or more and is related to the Chicago project. Trump hinted that this debt was purchased from a lender. Mother Jones reported last year that this loan could be proof of tax evasion if Trump actually paid off the debt and didn’t buy it.

As part of her investigation, James confirmed that Trump did not purchase the Fortress loan and she asked the Trumps to provide documents showing that they had paid taxes on the canceled portion of the debt. According to the brief filed last month by his office, James is also examining whether Trump overestimated the value of his properties to convince banks that he was a better credit risk and whether Trump misstated a conservation easement on a large property. which he owns north of New York.

James said in his file that the Trump Organization easily provided most of the information his office requested and that Eric Trump, who largely ran the company while his father was president, was due for an affidavit interview on the 22nd. July. However, according to James, Eric Trump abruptly canceled the interview. When James’ office attempted to reschedule, Trump’s attorneys told investigators “we cannot allow the interview to continue … in accordance with the rights granted to every individual under the Constitution.”

In a brief filed Thursday afternoon, however, the Trump Organization backed down, saying Eric Trump would be interviewed, but not anytime soon. Lawyers for the Trump Organization said they had not allowed the interview to continue before because they wanted to ensure that James’s office did not provide the results of his investigation to other agencies likely. to investigate Trump, possibly an allusion to New York City. District Attorney Cy Vance who is would have continuing his own Trump fraud investigation.

Although they did not get that assurance, Trump lawyers wrote, they are now happy to make Eric Trump available, but not until November 19, “due to Mr. Trump and the associated unavailability between now and the election, and to avoid using his presence at the deposition for political purposes. ”

They added, “It is well known that most, if not all, law enforcement and regulatory agencies carefully avoid certain actions in the 60 days leading up to a major election. “

In a statement provided to Mother JonesJames said it was not up to the Trump Organization to tell investigators when its leaders are free to speak. “While we cannot comment on the specific actions we take in connection with a specific litigation, we will not allow any entity or individual to dictate how our investigation will be conducted or to allow anyone to evade. a legal subpoena. No one is above the law, period, ”she said.

In its filing, the Trump Organization claims it provided investigators with everything they asked for regarding the Chicago loan – which the company’s motion confirms was repaid with a substantial discount – but most of the section on the agreement has been filed under seal and is redacted from the public version.

The case is due in court on September 23 for a first hearing.