Cohen Interviewed About Trump Finances 01/16 10:16
NEW YORK (AP) -- New York prosecutors conducted an hours-long interview
Thursday of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney,
asking a range of questions about Trump's business dealings, according to three
people familiar with the meeting.
The interview focused in part on Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank,
his biggest and longest standing creditor, according to the three people, who
weren't authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated
Press on the condition of anonymity.
The interview, at least the second of Cohen by the Manhattan district
attorney's office, comes amid a long-running grand jury investigation into
Trump's business dealings. District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has been waging
a protracted legal battle to get access to the president's tax records.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on Trump's request for a stay and
a further appeal after he leaves office Jan. 20.
The New York investigation is one of several legal entanglements that are
likely to intensify as Trump loses power --- and any immunity from prosecution
he might have as a sitting president --- as he departs the White House.
The Manhattan-based grand jury has been continuing its work despite the
coronavirus pandemic, which has curtailed many court operations.
The Republican president also faces a civil investigation, led by New York
Attorney General Letitia James, into whether Trump's company lied about the
value of its assets to get loans or tax benefits. Cohen also is cooperating
with that inquiry.
He previously told Congress that Trump often inflated the value of his
assets when dealing with lenders or potential business partners, but deflated
them when it benefited him for tax purposes.
The White House declined to comment. A message seeking comment was sent to
Trump has repeatedly called the investigations by Vance and James, both
Democrats, a baseless political "witch hunt."
Vance has declined to provide specific details about the investigation, but
pointed to news reports of what prosecutors described as "extensive and
protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization" in court filings.
Among the reports Vance's office referenced in court filings was a 2017
article about Ladder Capital, a commercial mortgage lender that made more than
$250 million in loans to the Trump Organization that were secured by Trump
properties. Jack Weisselberg, the son of Trump Organization Chief Financial
Officer Allen Weisselberg, is a director of Ladder Capital.
Subpoenas issued in the investigation cover 11 entities engaged in business
dealings as far away as Europe and Dubai, according to an appeals court judge
speaking at a hearing on the matter.
Cohen, who is serving the remainder of a federal prison sentence on home
confinement, has been asked by investigators to examine certain Trump
Organization documents and to provide other details about its corporate
structure, the people familiar with the matter said. Cohen pleaded guilty to
evading taxes, lying to Congress and facilitating campaign finance crimes.
Germany-based Deutsche Bank continued to do business with Trump even after
he defaulted in 2008 on a loan for his Chicago hotel and condo development.
Trump sued the bank and others whom he blamed for his inability to repay.
But Deutsche Bank's private banking division continued to lend to Trump,
including $125 million to finance the purchase and renovation of his Doral golf
resort in 2012, according to previous disclosures.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment.