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D.C. Attorney General Grilled Donald Trump Jr. for Ongoing Probe of 2017 Inauguration, Docs Reveal


Some two months after his sister Ivanka Trump took the hot seat, Donald Trump Jr. sat for a deposition for D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine’s (D) ongoing investigation into their father’s scandal-beset 2017 inauguration committee. That revelation surfaced in court papers alleging witnesses have given “unclear and contradictory accounts” about the committee paying more than $49,000 on hotel rooms for Trump Jr.’s college friend.

Racine sued former President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, the Trump Organization and Trump International Hotel a little more than a year ago, accusing the non-profit of coordinating with the Trump family to grossly overpay for an event space inside the Washington, D.C. hotel—to the tune of at least $300,000 for a private reception for the children.

None of the children’s depositions have become public, but court papers provided glimpses of the attorney general’s questioning. In an email exchange from late 2016, Melania Trump’s ex-senior adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff warned Ivanka Trump, Rick Gates and others that the cost would come back to haunt them.

According to a filing on Tuesday, Trump Jr. sat for a deposition on Feb. 11, which remains confidential but is said to have touched upon a contract the Trump Organization signed with the Madison, a Loews hotel in Washington, D.C.

“The point of contact for the room block contract was Lindsay Santoro, then a Trump Organization employee and executive assistant to Donald Trump, Jr., and the authorizing signature on the contract was Mr. Trump’s close friend, Gentry Beach,” Assistant Deputy Attorney General Jimmy Rock wrote in an 8-page legal brief. “An invoice for this Loews Madison room block for $49,358.92 was forwarded to the [presidential inauguration committee] in July 2017, which the PIC paid.”

Weeks after Trump Jr.’s deposition, the attorney general has more questions about this expenditure on his college friend’s accommodations.

Racine’s office says that three of the 10 witnesses deposed so far have given “inconsistent accounts about the purpose of the contract” on the Loews Madison invoice: The inauguration committee’s budget and treasury director Heather Martin “could only provide bare details” about the invoice, and Rick Gates’s explanation for why the committee paid it “contradicts evidence later obtained by the district,” according to the motion for additional discovery.

“Donald Trump, Jr.’s testimony at his February 11, 2021 deposition raised further questions about the nature of the Loews Madison invoice and revealed evidence that Defendants had not yet produced to the District,” the motion states. “Mr. Trump testified that he did not authorize his assistant or his friend, Mr. Beach, to enter into the contract on behalf of the Trump Organization.”

Redactions appear to cover excerpts of that testimony that still remain under seal, but the attorney general’s summaries of Trump Jr.’s responses are public.

“When asked about the names associated with the rooms and the invoice, Mr. Trump was unable to testify if any of them donated to the [committee],” the motion states. “Instead, the names were associated with the campaign or with the Trump family. For example, Mr. Trump testified that one individual was a friend from college, one was a Trump family driver, another was a New York socialite from Real Housewives of New York who is also a Trump family friend.”

Hours after Trump Jr.’s testimony, the attorney general’s office says, a collections agency produced documents responding to a subpoena that contradicted the testimony of Gates.

The Trump Organization’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Read the motion below:

[Image via Scott Olson/Getty Images]

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."