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Eric Trump seeks to delay deposition by N.Y. Attorney General until after election

NBC News logo NBC News 9/17/2020 Dareh Gregorian
Eric Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by NBC News

Lawyers for Eric Trump on Thursday said he's willing to answer questions in the New York Attorney General's investigation of the Trump Organization — but only after the presidential election.

Trump's lawyer said in a court filing that he needs the delay because of his "extreme travel schedule and related unavailability between now and the election and to avoid the use of his deposition attendance for political purposes."

Attorney General Letitia James' office has been trying to get Trump to sit for an interview for months, but Trump refused to comply with a subpoena and accused her of engaging in "prosecutorial misconduct" last month.

In a statement Thursday, James said, "While we cannot comment on the particular steps we're taking on specific litigation, we won't allow any entity or individual to dictate how our investigation will proceed or allow anyone to evade a lawful subpoena. No one is above the law, period."

James' sprawling civil investigation is based in part on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's testimony to Congress and seeks to learn whether the financial filings for President Donald Trump's business, the Trump Organization, were inflated or deflated to obtain loans or reduce potential taxes.

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Eric Trump, the company's executive vice president, has been running the company while his father's been in the White House.

In a filing in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, lawyers for Trump and the company argue that many of the documents the AG is seeking are protected by attorney-client privilege, and the subpoena to Trump was "premature" and "unnecessary."

Among the conditions the company wanted was an agreement that the A.G. "will not provide any materials, information or transcripts developed or collected in the course of its investigation to any other law enforcement authority, agency or regulator."

Despite the months-long delay in getting Trump's testimony, his lawyers contended there's no rush. "We note that the OAG investigation has been ongoing for approximately 18 months," their filing said.

The Trump lawyers said they've proposed four dates for a deposition, with the first being "just two weeks" after the presidential election."

Trump's lawyers also contended that, "It is well known that most, if not all, law enforcement and regulatory agencies studiously avoid certain actions within the 60-day period prior to a major election."

Trump initially agreed to sit for an interview in July, but backed out just two days beforehand, according to the AG's office.

A hearing in the case is scheduled for next week.

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