NY Attorney General Letitia James has signaled that her probe of Donald Trump's business is in its 11th hour.
Still, documents are pouring in by the hundreds of thousands of pages as Trump appraiser Cushman & Wakefield scrambles to comply with subpoenas.
To make the summer still busier, Donald, Ivanka and Donald Jr. are scheduled for depositions in 2 weeks.
It's the Summer of Trump for Letitia James and her band of Trump Organization investigators.
With statute of limitations deadlines looming, New York's attorney general has signaled that her office is wrapping up its massive, three-year inquiry into an alleged pattern of financial fraud at Donald Trump's multi-billion-dollar hotel and golf resort empire.
There will be no summer slowdown as James races to file the result of that probe, an expected encyclopedic lawsuit quite possibly seeking to put the company out of business entirely.
Depositions from Donald Trump and his two eldest children, plus an ongoing, giant evidence dump from longtime Trump appraisers Cushman & Wakefield — to include Cushman's entire archive of communications with Trump and Trump Org — will make for a very busy July as the finish line nears.
The hottest depos yet
James' investigators have by now recorded subpoena-mandated depositions from some 40 witnesses. Those include less-than-enlightening sessions with the Trump Organization's two top executives, former CFO Allen Weisselberg and Eric Trump, who has helmed the business as executive vice president since his father became president in 2017.
James has left the hottest depositions for smack in the middle of summer.
Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr. have all been court-ordered to sit for questioning some time between Friday, July 15, and Friday, July 22. Reps for Trump and the AG's office declined to say whether or when those have been scheduled.
The three Trumps could follow in Weisselberg's and Eric Trump's footsteps, and plead the fifth hundreds of times, but there would be a legal cost.
The depositions will be taped, and those tapes will become evidence for a jury should James' eventual lawsuit — and any possible demand for fines, restitution or a dissolution of the business — go to trial.
A jury would be told that they are allowed to draw a negative inference from the sight of any witness invoking the right to remain silent rather than risk self-incrimination.
What's up? Docs.
Meanwhile, evidence is pouring in by the hundreds of thousands of pages from Cushman & Wakefield, in response to their loss two weeks ago of a last-ditch appeal at New York's highest court.
James's probers appear to care a lot about the Chicago-based Cushman, Trump's go-to appraisers for well over a decade.
They've alleged that Trump used "fraudulent or misleading" Cushman appraisals to win $165 million in tax breaks and bank loans. At least some of those questionable appraisals were made in what the AG has called "an atmosphere of pressure applied to them by the Trump Organization."
The real estate services giant is now scrambling to comply with the third of four subpoenas James has issued since June of 2019, according to a new court filing that gives a sense of how much new paperwork the AG's office is in the midst of processing.
Cushman has turned over 800,000 pages of documents to the AG's probe. Some 500,000 of those pages were turned over in the past week, lawyers for the appraisal firm say in the filing.
But two sets of documents, demanded in that third subpoena, issued in September, remain to be turned over.
And here is where lawyers for Cushman say they are struggling and need more time, ideally until July 15, after having blown past this week's deadline.
What are they still laboring to turn over? The third subpoena's first and second document requests:
"All documents and communications concerning any work performed for Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization."
"All documents and communications concerning any work performed concerning property or assets owned by Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization."
Terabytes of emails
Some of this material, including "emails, substantial hard copy documents, and other e-discovery materials," has already been turned over, the new Cushman filing says.
But the e-discovery firm that's helping collect and process Cushman's documents, Platinum Intelligent Data Solutions, is still scouring through 1.78 terabytes of emails "involving current and former employees," in an effort to parse out what else must be turned over, the filing says.
"This is estimated to include approximately 9 million e-mails with attachments consisting of approximately 72 million pages," the filing says, describing the huge database now being sifted for Trump-related communications.
The AG's office has yet to respond to Cushman's request for a two-week delay, which would also have to be approved by the Manhattan judge who is presiding over the AG's probe, NY Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.
That's the judge who on Wednesday ruled that Donald Trump is no longer in contempt of court over an earlier failure to fully comply with James' subpoena for his business documents.
As for the 500,000 pages turned over by Cushman in the past week, those include some 1,000 valuations, stretching back to 2012, that were conducted by 5 Cushman-employee appraisers of Trump properties, the latest filing also says.
James has said she wants to compare how the 5 appraisers set values for Trump properties with how they set values for similar non-Trump properties.
The 5 appraisers worked on three properties James is looking closely at — 40 Wall Street, the Seven Springs estate in Upstate New York, and the Trump National Golf Club near Los Angeles.
Any measurable favoritism toward Trump, which Cushman has steadfastly denied, could result in the AG naming the appraisal firm as a defendant in her lawsuit.
A Cushman spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
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