Donald Trump Jr. deposed in lawsuit over inauguration funds

Donald Trump Jr. deposed in lawsuit over inauguration funds
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Jeff Pegues
·3 min read
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Washington — Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of former President Donald Trump, was deposed by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine this month as part of the district's lawsuit over the misuse of funds by the former president's inaugural committee.

A court filing from Racine with the Superior Court of the District of Columbia indicates Trump Jr. answered questions at a deposition on February 11, during which he was asked about a contract signed by the Trump Organization for a block of hotel rooms at the Loews Madison Hotel in Washington during the week of the 2017 inauguration.

According to the motion filed by Racine, the inaugural committee paid nearly $50,000 for the rooms reserved by the Trump Organization. The point-of-contact for the room-block contract was Lindsay Santoro, who worked for the Trump Organization and served as executive assistant to Trump Jr., according to the filing. The authorizing signature on the contract was Gentry Beach, a close friend of Trump Jr. The invoice for the rooms, however, was sent to Mr. Trump's inaugural committee in July 2017, and it was paid.

The District of Columbia filed its lawsuit against the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee last year, alleging funds were misused to enrich the Trump family. Among other accusations, the suit alleged the committee was overcharged for services at the Trump International Hotel, with more than $1 million spent at the hotel, including for a private party for Mr. Trump's three older children.

Racine has added the transaction involving the hotel rooms to its lawsuit against the Trump Organization and the committee. But he said, despite efforts to gain more information related to the expenditure, "the district has been met with repeated obstacles, including misleading testimony, a closed hotel, and new information revealed after the deadline for issuing discovery requests passed" earlier this month. 

A subpoena issued in November, for example, went unanswered, as the hotel was resold in late 2020. The hotel's new management company, Hilton Management, turned over limited documents from its previous owner. 

Racine told the court the district has deposed 10 witnesses in the case, though only three — Trump Jr., Heather Martin, director of budget and treasury for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, and Rick Gates, its deputy chairman — could testify about the payment of the invoice for the room block at the Loews Madison. Those who have been deposed have given conflicting stories about what the charges were for, and sources told CBS News that investigators want to know why the inaugural committee paid for a debt under a contract entered into by the Trump Organization. 

"When asked about the names associated with the rooms and the invoice, Mr. Trump was unable to testify if any of them donated to the PIC," Racine told the court in his filing. "Instead, the names were associated with the campaign or with the Trump family."

The D.C. attorney general is now seeking more time to collect information and conduct three more depositions.

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