Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has ordered the release of documents to the office of New York state Attorney General Letitia James (D) from the Morgan Lewis law firm in connection to their work in relation to a Trump Organization property in Westchester County. That property, the so-called Seven Springs estate, has been under investigation by James’s office for apparent fraudulent adjustments to its valuation by the Trump Organization, which is the former president’s family business. The Trump Organization received a boon on its taxes because of a large valuation for a conservation easement on the property.
Engoron, who has been handling court proceedings surrounding James’s investigation of the Trump Organization for awhile, concluded that documents that Morgan Lewis marked as privileged weren’t actually privileged. Thus, he ordered the material’s submission to James’s office by February 4. Previously, he also ordered Eric Trump, the ex-president’s son, to sit for a deposition before the recent presidential election as a part of James’s investigation. Eric had been trying to get his deposition delayed. In this case, Engoron wrote, in part, as follows:
‘The Court finds that many of the communications Morgan Lewis marked as privileged were communications addressing business tasks and decisions, not exchanges soliciting or rendering legal advice.’
Quoting a previous ruling, Engoron added that a lawyer’s “communication is not cloaked in privilege when the lawyer is hired for business or personal advice, or to do the work of a nonlawyer.” Check out the ruling in the below post:
"The Court finds that many of the communications Morgan Lewis marked as privileged were communications addressing business tasks and decisions, not exchanges soliciting or rendering legal advice."
AG's probing the property's potentially improper tax deduction.
The full ruling. pic.twitter.com/m2zCd098JC
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) January 29, 2021
Besides James’s investigation, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has also been investigating the Trump Organization, and in contrast to the civil probe from James’s office, Vance has been leading a criminal investigation. As a part of this investigation, his office has been seeking copies of the ex-president’s financial records, including his tax returns, and recently, his office expanded their investigation to include the Seven Springs property. This expansion included subpoenas for records relating to the property from towns in which it sits.
Now that he’s out of office, Trump has lost any tentative protections from criminal proceedings that the presidency may have provided. Besides the New York investigations, Trump is also facing an imminent second impeachment trial in the Senate after the Democrat-led House charged him with incitement of insurrection for helping spark the recent Capitol rioting.