Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on Wednesday en route to be deposed by Attorney General Letitia James of New York.
Trump is the key witness in the New York attorney general’s inquiry into the Trump Organization.
He arrived Wednesday morning at Letitia James’ Manhattan offices for a closed-door deposition.
She’s signaled she’ll sue Trump over millions she alleges were from ill-gotten loans and tax breaks.
Former President Donald Trump arrived Wednesday morning for his long-delayed court-ordered deposition in Attorney General Letitia James’ three-year investigation of the Trump Organization in New York.
Trump arrived just before 9 a.m. at the attorney general’s New York City headquarters in a skyscraper on Liberty Street in lower Manhattan.
He entered the building’s underground parking garage inside one of three black SUVs in a small motorcade of Secret Service and New York City Police Department vehicles.
James has insisted that Trump be deposed in person and that he show up at her offices like any other target in one of her investigations, a person involved in the matter told Insider.
Deposing Trump in person is a smart move, according to one of the only other lawyers to depose the former president in recent years.
“Body language, eye contact, facial expressions get lost if you’re doing it remote,” said the lawyer, Benjamin Dictor, who deposed Trump in October at Trump Tower as a lawyer for four Mexican Americans who have sued Trump over allegations that he sicced security on them during a 2015 protest outside Trump Tower.
“I would say that’s particularly the case with Mr. Trump,” Dictor added.
“In my experience examining him, it was important to be able to pick up on small cues — small tells — in the examination that I think would have been difficult to pick up had we done the examination remotely,” he said.
An in-person deposition also allows a lawyer to make sure the deponent is not somehow being fed answers, Dictor added.
“And when you need to show them a document, it can be physically just handed across the conference table,” he said.
Investigators for James’ office have waited all year to ask the former president about allegations of financial wrongdoing at his Manhattan-headquartered real-estate and golf-resort empire.
Her office issued its original subpoena in December, setting a January 7 date to question the former president on what she has alleged is a decadelong pattern of misstating the value of Trump Organization properties on financial documents. James alleges these inflated or deflated valuations were used by Trump to win hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and bank loans.
Trump’s lawyers fought the December subpoena for more than six months, losing in the New York Supreme Court and the Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State, First Department, both in Manhattan.
As a result of those court losses, the former president and his eldest son and daughter — Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump — agreed to sit for depositions on July 20, 21, and 22.
But those dates were rescheduled with the attorney general’s consent because of Ivana Trump’s death on July 14. She was Donald Trump’s ex-wife and the mother of Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, as well as Eric Trump.
Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump — both of whom have served as Trump Organization executive vice presidents — sat for their depositions in the past week.
Their brother Eric Trump, also a vice president for the company, invoked his Fifth Amendment right more than 500 times when he sat for a James deposition in October 2020.
The Wednesday deposition took place a dozen blocks south of Manhattan’s main criminal courthouse.
A week from Friday, lawyers for the Trump Organization and for Allen Weisselberg, the company’s former longtime chief financial officer, are scheduled to appear at a pretrial hearing at the courthouse.
A judge has promised to set a trial date for the Trump Organization and Weisselberg to stand trial over accusations that they played roles in a decadelong payroll-tax scheme.
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