Longtime Trump aide subpoenaed by New York attorney general

The New York attorney general’s office said Monday it has subpoenaed Donald Trump’s executive assistant and plans to question her under oath next week as part of its civil investigation into the former president’s business dealings.

The subpoena for Rhona Graff was revealed by a lawyer for Attorney General Letitia James’s office in court papers opposing Trump’s latest attempt to get out of a contempt order for delaying responding to a subpoena for documents and other evidence. .

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

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

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 attorneys Friday night as they sought to have his warrant lifted. disrespect.

Graff, who began 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 he had his own office in Trump Tower with a large filing cabinet containing folders on various Trump-related topics.

Amer said James’ office wants to question Graff under oath, in part, because his affidavit only described the company’s retention and preservation practices for some of Trump’s records, and lacked details about how his statements were handled. financial.

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

“Did you annotate any drafts with comments and/or questions?” Amer continued. “If so, what happened to those erasers? How is the final version of the declaration presented for Mr. Trump’s approval each year? How did you make your approval of him clear? Ms. Graff’s affidavit does not say.”

A message seeking comment was left with an attorney who represented Graff in previous legal matters.

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

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

Trump’s lawyers contend that James is using his civil investigation to gain access to information that could later be used against him in a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, a Democrat.

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

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

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

Trump complied with most of the conditions, including paying $110,000 in fines and submitting affidavits detailing efforts to search subpoenaed records.

Amer acknowledged that Trump and his lawyers have made progress in enforcing the Engoron conditions, but said the contempt order should remain in place pending Graff’s plea.

Engoron has not yet ruled.

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

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Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak

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