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

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lawyer for President Donald '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 's lawyer Alan Futerfas said his client, an executive vice president at the 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 '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. 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 and the Organization overstated the value of assets to obtain loans and tax benefits.

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Her probe began after Donald '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 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 's testimony, and whether the 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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