Judge Arthur Engoron has ordered President Donald Trump’s son to appear for a deposition by Oct. 7, denying Eric Trump’s request to wait until after the election.
Engoron said the argument to delay providing testimony was “unpersuasive” because “neither the petitioner nor this court is bound by timelines of the national election.”
The New York Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday had sought to compel testimony from Eric Trump as part of an investigation into whether the Trump Organization improperly inflated certain assets to obtain tax benefits it otherwise would not have been entitled to receive.
Eric Trump had offered to sit for a deposition after Election Day, citing a busy travel schedule on behalf of the campaign, but he “will no longer be able to delay his interview and will be sitting down with investigators in my office no later than Oct. 7,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “To be clear, no entity or individual is allowed to dictate how or when our investigation will proceed or set the parameters of a lawful investigation.”
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Assistant Attorney General Matthew Colangelo told the judge Eric Trump should have no role in dictating the timing of his testimony.
“The mere ground of personal inconvenience isn’t a basis to delay compliance,” Colangelo said during a video hearing before Engoron.
An attorney for Eric Trump, Alan Futerfas, said the proposed delay resulted from a change in attorneys so the president’s son is represented by counsel separate from the company.
“There is a massive amount of material that is involved in this investigation,” Futerfas said. “We need time to go through these materials. We need time to prepare our client.”
Futerfas also reminded the judge about the approaching election: “Eric Trump is a vital and integral part of that, and he’s traveling just about seven days a week.”
During the same hearing, Colangelo said the Trump Organization was improperly withholding about four dozen records from investigators and he balked at the company’s claim the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege.
“There’s no evidence they relate to a legal purpose and in about 44 of them they were copied to a third party and the privilege is waived,” Colangelo said.
The Trump Organization insists it’s acted in good faith.
“We’ve been very cooperative with the attorney general throughout the investigation,” said Trump Organization attorney Lawrence Rosen.
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