Donald Trump Jr. testified in probe of 2017 inauguration


Donald Trump Jr. was deposed on Feb. 11 as part of a probe of alleged misuse of contributions for the 2017 inauguration of his father, former President Donald Trump, court records show.

Donald Jr.’s testimony “raised further questions about the nature of” an invoice related to the inauguration, “and revealed evidence that Defendants had not yet produced to the District,” according to the court filing Tuesday by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine’s office in Washington Superior Court.

The deposition came two months after Donald Jr.’s sister, former White House advisor Ivanka Trump, herself was deposed in the case.

Racine last year sued the Trump Inaugural Committee, the Trump Organization and the Trump International Hotel for what he called “blatantly and unlawfully abusing nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family.”

The attorney general said at the time that an investigation by his office “revealed that the Inaugural Committee made exorbitant and unlawful payments to the Trump Hotel to rent event space for Inaugural activities.”

“This came as a result of coordination between Inaugural Committee Deputy Chairman Rick Gates, Trump International Hotel management, and members of the Trump family,” Racine said in announcing the suit, which alleges more than $1 million in improper payments to the hotel by the inaugural committee.

Gates was deposed in December, according to the new court filing, which seeks an extension of the deadlines for taking depositions and otherwise sharing evidence in the case.

The same filing said that Racine’s office learned after last September that the inaugural committee improperly spent funds in connection with a contract the Trump Organization had with The Madison, a Lowes Hotel, in Washington for a block of rooms during inauguration week.

“The point of contact for the room block contract was Lindsay Santoro, then a Trump Organization employee and executive assistant to Donald Trump Jr., ” the filing said.

“The authorizing signature on the contract was Mr. Trump’s close friend, Gentry Beach.”

An invoice for this block of rooms, for $49,358.92, was forwarded to the inaugural committee in July 2017, and paid by the committee paid it, the filing said.

During his deposition, Donald Jr. “testified that he did not authorize his assistant or his friend, Mr. Beach, to enter into” a contract on the behalf of the Trump Organization in connection with the inauguration committee, the filing said.

“Mr. Trump stated that in preparation for his deposition he reviewed emails or documents and stated, [REDACTED] opining that Mr. Beach was [REDACTED] and used Mr. Trump’s assistant to help him,” the filing said.

“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 [inaugural committee]. Instead, the names were associated with the campaign or with the Trump family.”

“For example, Mr. Trump testified that one individual was a friend from college, one was a Trump family driver, another was a New York socialite from Real Housewives of New York who is also a Trump family friend,” the filing said.

A spokeswoman for Donald Jr. and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the past, Donald Jr., his father and other members of their clan have dismissed Racine’s and other investigations as politically motivated.

The Daily Beast reported Tuesday night that investigators in the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. have been asking questions about Donald Jr. in their criminal investigation of the elder Trump and the Trump Organization, which Donald Jr. runs with his brother Eric.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Vance’s office could get eight years’ worth of former President Trump’s tax returns and other financial records from his longtime accountants as part of that investigation.

Vance is probing whether the Trump Organization improperly stated the values of various real estate assets for different purposes, how the company accounted for hush money payments made to two women who said they had sex with the elder Trump and other issues. Trump has denied the women’s allegations, and any wrongdoing.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation of the Trump Organization, which is focused on allegations by President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, that the firm inflated and deflated the value of real estate to gain financial benefits.

Eric Trump was deposed last fall in that investigation.



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