Trump Lawyers Wilding Out As New York AG Looks Ready To Drop The Hammer
Donald Trump has done a lot of crazy shit to avoid prosecution by New York Attorney General Letitia James. He tried for years on end to stymie her investigation, refusing to testify on grounds that he and his family were immune from civil process during his presidency. He even filed a laughably stupid federal lawsuit on grounds of please make that scary lady stop being mean to me. But after getting laughed out of federal and state court, they appear to have tried something incredibly stupid before the former president's scheduled testimony on August 10.
The Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery reports:
In confidential court documents, former President Donald Trump tried to squirm his way out of taking a trip to the New York Attorney General’s office last month, telling a judge that the Secret Service had security concerns about the AG’s office, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Trump wanted to be deposed at Trump Tower instead, so he told the court that his taxpayer-funded security detail couldn't guarantee his safety at the attorney general’s office. As the Beast reports, there was no accompanying affidavit in support of this statement, for the simple reason that it doesn't appear to be true.
When asked, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi responded that he was “unaware of any security challenges at the Office of the New York State Attorney General.”
Alina Habba, Trump's lawyer on this boondoggle and also the Florida RICO LOLsuit which just got yeeted into the sun, refused to comment. Although she spends half her time doing Newsmax and Fox hits so ... stay tuned!
In the meantime, the New York Times says that AG James is closing in on the Trump Organization, and even considering suing one of his adult children.
Thanks to Eric's incessant public whining, we know that the inquiry is focused on hinky valuations of Trump properties, both to lenders and the government. For instance, the company spent years trying to subdivide and develop a 213-acre parcel in Westchester County, New York known as Seven Springs. In a 2012 financial statement prepared for his effort to buy the Buffalo Bills, Trump valued it at $291 million. A 2015 Cushman Wakefield appraisal said it was worth $56 million, reflecting its potential for future development. But in 2016, when the company finally tapped out on the effort to get permission to build McMansions, Cushman whipped up a new appraisal in conjunction with the 158-acre conservation easement in which Trump "agreed" not to develop the plot — something he'd spent 20 years trying and failing to do. The Trump family kept the ancestral mansion and surrounding grounds, plus they picked up a $21 million tax credit for the the undeveloped easement, which was some interesting math since the tax assessment said the entire property was worth $19 million.
The Times reports that the Trump Organization made a settlement offer which the AG rejected, which means that any enforcement action will be ongoing during the next presidential campaign. There's also the upcoming criminal lawsuit against the Trump Organization for systematically failing to pay taxes on CFO Allen Weisselberg's salary.
Trump reportedly pled the the Fifth during his testimony to the AG, invoking his right against self-incrimination more than 400 times. Unfortunately for him, the state of New York allows a jury to take a negative inference from a Fifth Amendment invocation in a civil trial.
But at least he'll have practice for the eleventy million other investigations swirling around him right now. Look on the bright side!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.