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Cohen Interviewed About Trump Finances 01/16 10:16


   NEW YORK (AP) -- New York prosecutors conducted an hours-long interview 
Thursday of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, 
asking a range of questions about Trump's business dealings, according to three 
people familiar with the meeting.

   The interview focused in part on Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank, 
his biggest and longest standing creditor, according to the three people, who 
weren't authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke to The Associated 
Press on the condition of anonymity.

   The interview, at least the second of Cohen by the Manhattan district 
attorney's office, comes amid a long-running grand jury investigation into 
Trump's business dealings. District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. has been waging 
a protracted legal battle to get access to the president's tax records.

   The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on Trump's request for a stay and 
a further appeal after he leaves office Jan. 20.

   The New York investigation is one of several legal entanglements that are 
likely to intensify as Trump loses power --- and any immunity from prosecution 
he might have as a sitting president --- as he departs the White House.

   The Manhattan-based grand jury has been continuing its work despite the 
coronavirus pandemic, which has curtailed many court operations.

   The Republican president also faces a civil investigation, led by New York 
Attorney General Letitia James, into whether Trump's company lied about the 
value of its assets to get loans or tax benefits. Cohen also is cooperating 
with that inquiry.

   He previously told Congress that Trump often inflated the value of his 
assets when dealing with lenders or potential business partners, but deflated 
them when it benefited him for tax purposes.

   The White House declined to comment. A message seeking comment was sent to 
Cohen's attorney.

   Trump has repeatedly called the investigations by Vance and James, both 
Democrats, a baseless political "witch hunt."

   Vance has declined to provide specific details about the investigation, but 
pointed to news reports of what prosecutors described as "extensive and 
protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization" in court filings.

   Among the reports Vance's office referenced in court filings was a 2017 
article about Ladder Capital, a commercial mortgage lender that made more than 
$250 million in loans to the Trump Organization that were secured by Trump 
properties. Jack Weisselberg, the son of Trump Organization Chief Financial 
Officer Allen Weisselberg, is a director of Ladder Capital.

   Subpoenas issued in the investigation cover 11 entities engaged in business 
dealings as far away as Europe and Dubai, according to an appeals court judge 
speaking at a hearing on the matter.

   Cohen, who is serving the remainder of a federal prison sentence on home 
confinement, has been asked by investigators to examine certain Trump 
Organization documents and to provide other details about its corporate 
structure, the people familiar with the matter said. Cohen pleaded guilty to 
evading taxes, lying to Congress and facilitating campaign finance crimes.

   Germany-based Deutsche Bank continued to do business with Trump even after 
he defaulted in 2008 on a loan for his Chicago hotel and condo development. 
Trump sued the bank and others whom he blamed for his inability to repay.

   But Deutsche Bank's private banking division continued to lend to Trump, 
including $125 million to finance the purchase and renovation of his Doral golf 
resort in 2012, according to previous disclosures.

   Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

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