Will a Trump family member be indicted before the November elections?
That bit of delayed justice may be a bit closer to reality today after New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced that she had requested a judge to compel Eric Trump to testify under oath after the president’s son refused to honor seven subpoenas related to the investigation the AG’s office was conducting of the Trump Organization’s finances and cancelled a scheduled interview with investigators.
James’ office is looking into allegations intially brought to their attention by the former Trump Organization attorney Micahel Cohen who accused the company — then still headed by the Trump family’s patriarch, Donald — of grossly overestimating the value of their holdings to obtain access to bank loans.
This inquiry is seperate from the similar parallel investigation being conducted by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. who is looking into possible tax and insurance fraud by the company using the same methods of overvaluing assets on loan documents while providing a vastly lower vauation in real estate tax filings to avoid a higher tax liability.
The state investigation began back in March of last year shortly after Michael Cohen revealed the existence of the tax scheme in his congressional testimony, but has been hindered by court battles over access to financial records held by the Trump Organization’s lenders, Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank.
While the Trump Organization was said to have intially offered limited cooperation to Attorney General James’ probe, more recently they have “stalled and stonewalled,” according to the new court filings filed by James’ office.
“Nothing will stop us from following the facts and the law, wherever they may lead. 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.
Predictably, the Trump Organization is declaring the inquiry as politically motivated rather than the natural progression of a disclosure of crimnal activity by a former employee who knows where the metaphorical bodies are buried.
The Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, Alan Garten, said that James’ “continued harassment of the company as we approach the election” and the timing of motion, at the start of the Republican National Convention, “once again confirms that this investigation is all about politics.”
As for Eric Trump, he respoded in a way that would make his dad proud, with a tweeted accusation of a political witch hunt.
Without any basis, the NYAG has pledged to take my father down from the moment she ran for office. This is the highest level of prosecutorial misconduct – purposely dropped on the eve of the Republican Convention for political points. Sad that this is her focus as New York burns pic.twitter.com/5tgtS3vH3F
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) August 24, 2020
Without any basis, except for that confession by Michael Cohen, he means.
“Sad that Republicans are having a convention while New York and the rest of the country continue to suffer from Eric’s father’s mismanagement of the pandemic” may have been a more accurate closing line for that tweet, especially since it’s California — not New York — that is currently burning.
If the New York State Supreme Court agrees in a timely manner to Attorney General James’ request to force Eric Trump and two Trump Organization lawyers to sit for sworn depositions about the investgation at hand, we just may see the spectacle of a Trump family member being indicted just in time for election day.
Even better, since the potential fraud and tax evasion charges would come at the state level, no presidential pardon can save any of the people who may be charged in the case — from Eric Trump to the president himself — from serving whatever sentence may be given if they are found guilty by a jury of their peers.
Thank you, U.S. constitution!
Given the trouble that Eric Trump now finds himself involved with, perhaps Donald Trump should take a cue from his senior advisor and resign to spend more time with his obviously emotionally-deprived children.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.