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Lawyer for Trump's son Eric defends delayed questioning in New York probe

NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - A lawyer for President Donald Trump’s son Eric on Wednesday urged a New York state judge not to require that he be interviewed before the Nov. 3 presidential election for a state probe into financing for properties owned by his family’s company.

At a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court, Eric Trump’s lawyer Alan Futerfas said his client, an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, was a “vital and integral part” of his father’s re-election bid and traveling almost every day.

He said he and another lawyer joined the case in late July, and needed time to review the “massive amount of material” involved in the investigation.

But a lawyer for New York Attorney General Letitia James rejected Eric Trump’s effort to delay his deposition, which that office sought in a May 26 subpoena, to Nov. 19 or later.

“There is just no reason ... a witness can forestall the attorney general’s investigation for six full months on a claim of personal inconvenience,” the lawyer Matthew Colangelo said. “Mr. Trump shouldn’t be able to profit from his own dilatory conduct.”

James has been conducting a civil probe into “potential fraud or illegality” concerning whether Donald Trump and the Trump Organization overstated the value of assets to obtain loans and tax benefits.

Her probe began after Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen told Congress the president had inflated some asset values to save money on loans and insurance, and deflated other asset values to reduce real estate taxes.

James has said Eric Trump canceled a scheduled interview in July, after a lawyer objected that her office’s questions might be “beyond the scope of (her) civil inquiry.”

Justice Arthur Engoron is reviewing the timing of Eric Trump’s testimony, and whether the Trump Organization and its outside lawyers must give documents to James that they consider privileged. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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