Longtime Trump aide subpoenaed by New York attorney general | New York News

By MICHAEL R. SISAK, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York attorney general’s office said Monday it has subpoenaed Donald Trump’s longtime executive aide and plans to question her under oath next week as part of his civil investigation into the former president’s business dealings.

The subpoena for Rhona Graff was leaked by a lawyer for the Attorney General’s Office Letitia James in court documents opposing Trump’s latest attempt to get rid of a contempt of court order for his slowness to respond to a subpoena for documents and other evidence.

Graff’s deposition is scheduled for May 31, special counsel for litigation Andrew Amer said in the court filing.

Amer said James’ office plans to question Graff on a variety of issues, including Trump’s involvement in preparing the annual financial statements that have been the focus of the attorney general’s investigation.

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Graff left Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, in April 2021, but was among several people involved in keeping his records who provided affidavits to Trump’s lawyers on Friday night as they sought to have his case lifted. contempt order.

Graff, who started working for Trump in 1987, has been described as his guardian and right-hand man. Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, wrote in his book that she had her own office in Trump Tower with a large filing cabinet containing files on various Trump issues.

Amer said James’ office wanted to examine Graff under oath, in part because his affidavit only described the company’s retention and retention practices for some of Trump’s records, and lacked details about how his statements financials were processed.

“Did (Trump) ever review the declaration in draft form before signing the final version each year?” Amer wrote, listing the questions left unanswered by Graff’s affidavit.

“Has he annotated drafts with comments and/or questions?” Amer continued. “If so, what happened to those drafts? In what form was the final version of the statement presented for Mr. Trump’s approval each year? How did he clearly express his approval? Ms. Graff’s affidavit does not say so.

A message seeking comment was left for an attorney who has represented Graff in past legal cases.

James, a Democrat, said her three-year investigation uncovered evidence the Trump Organization had misstated the value of assets such as skyscrapers and golf courses in financial statements for more than a year. decade.

Trump, a Republican, denies the allegations. He called James’ investigation “racist” and a politically motivated “witch hunt”. James is black. Trump’s lawyers have charged her with selective prosecution.

Trump’s attorneys argue that James is using his civil investigation to gain access to information that could then be used against him in a criminal investigation led by the Manhattan District Attorney, a Democrat.

Trump is also suing James in federal court, seeking to end his investigation.

Judge Arthur Engoron found Trump in contempt on April 25 and fined him $10,000 a day for failing to deliver subpoenaed documents by the March 31 deadline.

Engoron said he would lift the order if Trump met certain conditions by Friday.

Trump has met most of the conditions, including paying $110,000 in fines and submitting affidavits detailing efforts to search for subpoena records.

Amer acknowledged that Trump and his attorneys have made progress in enforcing Engoron’s terms, but said the contempt order should remain in place until Graff’s deposition.

In the meantime, Amer said Trump’s attorneys may take further steps to shed light on his record-keeping practices. He suggested they provide a detailed affidavit from another Trump executive and an affidavit detailing their efforts to contact each of Trump’s 12 former executive aides.

Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak

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