A judge in New York on Friday ordered the Trump Organization to give documents to an attorney general.
Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said lawyers representing the company must turn over documents it sought to withhold.
“Morgan Lewis is hereby ordered to produce to petitioner, by Feb. 4, 2021, all documents marked ‘not privileged’ by this court in the privilege log being emailed today under separate cover to all parties,” he wrote in the order.
The firm must give the documents to New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who is probing whether the Trump Organization improperly manipulated the value of former President Donald Trump’s assets on annual financial statements in order to secure loans and obtain tax benefits.
Morgan Lewis marked communications as privileged but the court found many documents were “addressing business tasks and decisions, not exchanges soliciting or rendering legal advice.”
Any communications within Morgan Lewis speaking to public relations are of a business, not legal, nature, according to the judge.
Two firms representing the Trump Organization in the case, including Morgan Lewis, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The judge last month ordered the Trump Organization to produce documents relating to communications between it and Ralph Mastromonaco, an engineer it employed. The judge initially ruled that the documents were privileged but, at James’s behest, reviewed that distinction and reversed his decision.
“Once again, justice and the rule of law prevailed. We will immediately move to ensure that the Trump Organization complies with the court’s order and submits records related to our investigation. My office’s ongoing investigation will continue, as we continue to follow the facts wherever they may lead,” James said in a statement at the time.
Also in the case, James subpoenaed Trump’s son Eric Trump, who agreed to testify after the November 2020 presidential election.
James while campaigning for her position vowed to investigate Trump for alleged wrongdoing and the Trump Organization has accused her of “continued harassment.”
“While we have tried to cooperate in good faith with the investigation at every turn, the NYAG’s continued harassment of the company as we approach the election (and filing of this motion on the first day of the Republican National Convention) once again confirms that this investigation is all about politics,” a Trump Organization lawyer told news outlets last year.