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Judge rules DC AG can question former Trump Organization CFO in inaugural committee suit

<i>Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images</i><br/>Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg will be questioned by lawyers from the Washington
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Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg will be questioned by lawyers from the Washington

By Jessica Schneider and Devan Cole, CNN

Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg will be questioned by lawyers from the Washington, DC, attorney general’s office, which has sued the company and former President Donald Trump’s 2017 Inaugural Committee.

DC Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams said Thursday she is allowing a limited deposition of Weisselberg as part of discovery in the ongoing lawsuit alleging the inaugural committee misused nonprofit funds, specifying that he may only be questioned about the committee’s funds.

“I’m not expecting there to be a fishing expedition,” Williams warned the parties during a hearing Thursday.

The DC attorney general’s office has asked why Weisselberg was pulled into a review of the inaugural committee’s financial records in 2017 when he had no known affiliation with the inaugural committee. The judge reinstated the Trump Organization as a defendant this week after ruling that an earlier dismissal of the company was done in error.

An attorney for Weisselberg declined CNN’s request for comment.

DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed suit in January 2020, accusing the inaugural committee of coordinating with the former President’s family to “grossly overpay” for event space for inauguration events in 2017 at the Trump International Hotel in DC.

Racine alleges that the inaugural committee wasted about $1 million in charitable funds by overpaying for event space at the hotel. The attorney general also has accused the inaugural committee of paying nearly $50,000 for a block of rooms reserved by the Trump Organization at the Loews Madison hotel.

“My office is committed to standing up against corruption and abuses of public trust,” Racine said in a statement Thursday. “That’s why we investigate, and, when the facts reveal flagrant violations of law, we sue. We look forward to proving our case in court. Cheaters should never prosper.”

In a previous court filing, the attorney general’s office questioned Weisselberg’s possible role in paying for the block of rooms for the Trump Organization with inaugural committee funds.

“As a de facto representative of Donald Trump’s business interests during the relevant period, Mr. Weisselberg may have information relevant to why the PIC’s funds were used to pay a debt of the Trump family business,” the filing said.

Weisselberg’s expected deposition will come as discovery in the case comes to a close, with it expected to wrap up in May. Williams has set a trial date for September 26, 2022.

Racine’s office is also expected to question at least two other people affiliated with the Trump Organization and the Trump family in the coming months: Gentry Beach and Kara Hanley. Beach signed the contract for the large block of hotel rooms at the Loews Madison during the week of the inauguration. Hanley was Donald Trump Jr.’s executive assistant who allegedly spoke with a collection agent who was trying to get the Trump Organization to pay the bill for the hotel rooms before it was picked up by the inaugural committee.

Jimmy Rock, an attorney at Racine’s office, said in court they may also move to depose Lindsay Santoro, Trump Jr.’s personal assistant, who was listed as the point of contact for the rooms.

Racine is alleging that the use of the inaugural committee’s funds for the block of rooms at the Loews Madison hotel, and for payments to the Trump Hotel that Racine describes as inflated, is a violation of DC’s laws for non-profit spending.

Weisselberg was indicted last summer in a separate case brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office relating to tax fraud. He pleaded not guilty.

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