New York Attorney General seeks Trump's testimony in civil probe

The probe is looking into whether the Trump Organization fraudulently overstated the value of certain properties when seeking bank loans

December 09, 2021 10:22 pm | Updated 10:22 pm IST - NEW YORK

New York State Attorney General Letitia James. File

New York State Attorney General Letitia James. File

New York's top justice official wants former U.S. president Donald Trump to testify in an investigation into possible fraud in his namesake real estate group, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

State Attorney General Letitia James has asked Trump to testify in person at her office in the probe into whether the Trump Organization may have illegally reported false values on its properties, potentially to gain banking and tax advantages, according to the Post.

Ms. James wants Trump to testify on January 7, the Post said, citing people familiar with the matter.

There was no immediate comment from either Ms. James' office or Trump.

The probe is looking into whether the Trump Organization fraudulently overstated the value of certain properties when seeking bank loans, and later reported much smaller values when declaring assets for tax-related purposes.

Trump's son Eric, who is executive vice president of the Trump Organization, was interviewed by James' office on the issue in October 2020.

The former president is facing pressure from several legal probes. He was questioned for more than four hours on October 18 for a lawsuit by a group of protestors who allege that his security guards assaulted them six years ago.

The Trump Organization is also under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney for possible financial crimes and insurance fraud.

In July the Trump Organization and its long-serving finance chief, Allen Weisselberg pleaded not guilty in a New York court to 15 felony fraud and tax evasion charges.

That trial will begin in mid-2022.

Trump meanwhile is battling to prevent years of his tax returns from being released to prosecutors.

And in Washington he is trying to prevent a congressional probe into the January 6 attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol from accessing White House records related to that day.

The New York investigations could potentially lose momentum next year, however.

Ms. James plans to run in the 2022 elections for governor of the state, and the Manhattan prosecutor, Cyrus Vance, is stepping down at the end of this year.

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