Eric Trump and Allen Weisselberg invoked their 5th Amendment rights more than 500 times in Trump Organization probe, court filing says

Eric Trump and Allen Weisselberg invoked their 5th Amendment rights more than 500 times in Trump Organization probe, court filing says
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Eric Trump speak with Donald Trump Jr's fiancé Kimberly Guilfoyle during a "Keep Iowa Great" press conference in Des Moines, IA, on February 3, 2020.
Eric Trump.Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
  • Eric Trump and Allen Weisselberg invoked the Fifth Amendment in the Trump Organization civil probe, a filing says.

  • Both men took the Fifth more than 500 times in depositions, the NY attorney general's office said.

  • The filing also accused Donald Trump of inflating his property values and misleading investors.

Eric Trump and Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's chief financial officer, each invoked their Fifth Amendment rights more than 500 times during depositions with the New York attorney general's office.

That's according to a new court filing from Attorney General Tish James' office asking a judge to enforce subpoenas targeting former President Donald Trump and his two eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka.

James is spearheading a years-long civil investigation into the Trump Organization and its business dealings. Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump were subpoenaed on December 1 as part of the investigation. James also wanted the former president to sit for a deposition on January 7, which he did not do.

Eric Trump appeared for a deposition in October 2020. Tuesday's court filing said he "invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to more than 500 questions over six hours."

Weisselberg sat for a deposition in September 2020.

"At testimony held on September 24, 2020, after answering a number of preliminary questions, Allen Weisselberg invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to more than 500 questions over five-and-a-half hours," the filing said.

In response to James' announcement of the legal filing late Tuesday, Eric Trump tweeted: "Letitia you can not escape your own words. This is all window dressing for your abuse of office and ethical misconduct (which we are prosecuting you for) and northing more than a PR move to revive a political career after your gubernatorial disaster."

A spokesperson for the Trump Organization also put out a statement accusing James of misleading the public and "misrepresenting the facts" surrounding the case. The statement went on to say that James' allegations are "baseless and will be vigorously defended."

A person familiar with the investigation told The Washington Post last month that James was looking into whether rampant fraud "permeated the Trump Organization." Her investigation runs parallel to a criminal inquiry by the Manhattan district attorney's office that James' office is also collaborating on.

The attorney general's office alleged in this week's court filing that Trump repeatedly inflated his property values and misled investors about his personal wealth. In one instance, the filing said, Trump personally signed documents falsely claiming that his triplex in Trump Tower was three times its actual size.

Weisselberg also "testified that it was 'certainly possible' Mr. Trump discussed valuations with him and that it was 'certainly possible' Mr. Trump reviewed the Statement of Financial Condition for a particular year before it was finalized," the filing said.

In another instance, investigators said Trump personally intervened to seek a higher valuation of his golf clubs in Los Angeles. Specifically, the filing described Trump as saying in a 2014 phone call with an outside tax counsel and an appraiser that the properties should be "valued higher than previously sold lots in the Trump Golf LA project because they were in a 'more prestigious' zip code and could thus command a 'zip code premium.'"

The appraiser subsequently asked the outside tax counsel "to confirm whether the lots were in a different zip code," the filing said. "Trump Organization in-house counsel concluded they were not."

Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were indicted on 15 felony counts including tax fraud and grand larceny as part of the Manhattan DA's investigation last year. Both pleaded not guilty.

Trump, for his part, filed a lawsuit late last month accusing James of trying to "harass" him and his family with investigations.

"To be clear, neither Mr. Trump nor the Trump Organization get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions," James' office said in response to the lawsuit. "Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law, not even someone with the name Trump."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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