New Trump Accountants Are Withholding Records, New York AG Says

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(Bloomberg) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a state judge to force the accounting firm Whitley Penn LLP to produce documents and testimony in her $250 million lawsuit against Donald Trump.

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Trump hired the firm after cutting ties with longtime accountant Mazars USA LLP, which disavowed nearly a decade of financial statements for the Trump Organization based on findings from James’s investigation.

James on Monday filed a letter in New York State Supreme Court requesting an order enforcing subpoenas she sent to Texas-based Whitley Penn last month. The subpoenas seek documents and communications related to the suit as well as the deposition of a Whitley Penn partner who was “involved in transactions and occurrences relevant to this litigation.”

“This court has ample basis for exercising personal jurisdiction over Whitley Penn, which has come to New York State to do business, has purposefully availed itself of the privilege of doing business in New York, and has provided professional services regulated by the State of New York,” James said in her filing.

Read the filing here

She told the court the subpoenas were served under laws Whitley Penn had agreed to in applying for registrations and licenses in New York.

“Furthermore, the accountant-client privilege Whitley Penn has raised is not recognized in New York, was waived when defendants produced over 5,600 communications between the Trump Organization and Whitley Penn, and may be obviated by an order of this court in any event,” James argued.

A Whitley Penn spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on the filing.

Read More: Rare Rebuke of Trump Financial Statements Sets Up Showdown

James sued Trump, his company and three of his children in September for allegedly inflating the value of his real estate company’s assets, the culmination of a years-long probe. She had joined forces in her investigation with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which recently convened a grand jury examining hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels during Trump’s 2016 presidential run.

The DA’s investigation could result in an indictment of Trump, who has denied wrongdoing and called the probe a partisan vendetta, as he runs for a second term in 2024.

Mazars compiled “statements of financial condition” for the former president from 2004 to 2020. Whitley Penn handled the compilation for Trump’s 2021 financial statement, James’s office said last year.

The case is New York v. Trump, 452564/2022, New York State Supreme Court, County of New York (Manhattan).

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--With assistance from Bob Van Voris.

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