The rich and privileged operate under different rules than ordinary Americans.
If you need proof of that statement, just try defying a subpoena some time or telling the court that your extensive travel schedule simply won’t allow you to turn up at the appointed time, but perhaps you could pencil them in sometime after election day.
That’s essentially what presidential spawn Eric Trump told New York State Attorney General Letitia James regarding the subpoena for his testimony about the financial and tax irregularities being alleged against the Trump Organization after the company’s former fixer Michael Cohen spilled the beans about the differing assessments of property values in their loan applications and tax filings.
Eric Trump’s attorneys argued in court that his “extreme travel schedule” campaigning for his father would prevent him from testifying anytime before the election in New York State’s civil investigation of the Trump Organization. The lawyers also claimed to want “to avoid the use of his deposition attendance for political purposes.”
Hmmm, isn’t all that campaigning Eric has on his calendar being done for political purposes? Why should his refusal to give a timely deposition be exempt from being fair game for political humiliation?
Attorney General James had a decidedly different view of the situation than the Trump scion’s lawyers.
“We won’t allow any entity or individual to dictate how our investigation will proceed or allow anyone to evade a lawful subpoena. No one is above the law, period,” James said in a statement responding to the attorney’s “Oh, he’s much too busy” excuse.
The younger Mr. Trump was originally scheduled for a voluntary interview with state officials to discuss the allegations that his family business lied about the value of its assets in order to get loans or tax benefits way back in July, but Attorney General James was forced to issue a subpoena for the slippery presidential offspring after Eric abruptly canceled that planned meeting.
The lawyers are trying to push the argument that most law-enforcement agencies should avoid taking any actions involving political figures during the 60 days before an election.
They seemingly forget the actions of former FBI Director James Comey, who sent a letter to Congress a week before the 2016 presidential election regarding the reopening of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“Eric Trump’s lawyers have proposed four dates for him to testify, the earliest being Nov. 19, which they contend is just 30 days after others are scheduled to be deposed in the investigation. They are also seeking assurances that the attorney general’s office won’t share testimony and evidence it collects with other law-enforcement agencies or regulators,” the Assoicated Press reports.
In the end, the scheduling of the deposition will be up to neither Eric Trump, his lawyers, nor the state attorney general.
A New York State judge will have the final say on the matter at a hearing scheduled for next Wednesday in state court in Manhattan.
Until then we can only speculate about whether Eric Trump’s multiple levels of privilege will allow him and his family to evade the consequences of a lawful subpoena — and the fallout from whatever revelations his testimony may generate — before the American people are asked to decide whether to give his father four more years in the White House rather than a lengthier prison sentence.
Let’s hope that Attorney General James’ assertion that “No one is above the law, period” proves to be true.
Original reporting by The Associated Press.
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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.