‘Desperate search of a crime’

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Former President Donald Trump has responded to New York Attorney General Letitia James announcing on Tuesday that she is adding a criminal component to her civil probe into the financial practices of the Trump Organization. 

As theGRIO reported earlier, the investigation has been underway since 2019, looking into whether the Trump Organization — with Trump and his sons in leadership — misled banks and insurance companies by inflating property value to attain loans. Further, the probe explores whether the company deflated property values to pay less in taxes. 

Read More: NY AG Letitia James adds ‘criminal capacity’ to probe of Trump organization

Trump fired back at James and other prosecutors targeting him in a lengthy statement that said, “There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime.”

Donald Trump thegrio.com
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“But, make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here,” he continued. “The Attorney General of New York literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me.”

Trump described the investigation as “a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States. Working in conjunction with Washington, these Democrats want to silence and cancel millions of voters because they don’t want ‘Trump’ to run again.”

James’ investigation extends to Trump’s son, Eric Trump, who was deposed by investigators before the 2020 presidential election, and Allen Weisselberg, a longtime Trump Organization leader. Trump’s former attorney-turned-whistleblower Michael Cohen testified before Congress that it was common practice for his ex-client to inflate his assets to secure loans and deflate assets to reduce real estate taxes.

Cohen pled guilty in 2018 to financial charges and lying to Congress. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison but was released last July to serve his remaining time under house arrest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, theGrio reported. 

Read More: McCarthy praises Trump over Biden because he ‘didn’t need to sleep 5 hours a night’

“I know what it is that they’re looking for,” said Cohen during an interview in December with CBSN, about the investigation into Trump’s finances. He claimed at the time that there is a “multitude of evidence” stacked up against the former president. Cohen worked as Trump’s “fixer’ for years until he realized he was “being used by Trump and the administration as his scapegoat,” he said on CBSN.

Trump’s statement did not reference Cohen by name when calling him “a lying, discredited low life.”

Several specific Trump properties are being scrutinized in James’ probe, including Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County.  As previously reported, Trump bought the property in 1995 for $7.5 million but has valued it at up to $291 million to secure loans. Inflating assets for financial gain is illegal. 

In addition to the Seven Springs property, the investigation is looking into whether Trump and his company inflated the value of other properties, including Trump Tower in New York and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

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