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Trump Org's new court-appointed 'watchdog,' retired judge Barbara Jones, can now inspect the company books

Laura Italiano   

Trump Org's new court-appointed 'watchdog,' retired judge Barbara Jones, can now inspect the company books

have called persistent fraud.

  • Retired federal judge Barbara Jones is now in place as special monitor over the Trump Organization.
  • Jones will monitor for what a Manhattan judge has termed persistent fraud at Donald Trump's company.

There's more trouble for Donald Trump's real-estate and golf resort company — a special monitor is now in place to watch for what a Manhattan judge and the New York attorney general have called persistent fraud.

Barbara Jones is a retired federal judge who will now keep an eye on the company's future financial filings as part of Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million fraud lawsuit.

Jones has previously served as special master in cases involving Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani, two lawyers who have worked for Trump.

In a ruling made public Thursday, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron empowered Jones to monitor the company's new financial filings, including any submitted to banks, insurers, and tax authorities.

She must also be given access to any plans for corporate restructuring or the sale or transfer of assets, something Engoron has said was needed after Trump incorporated something called "Trump Organization II."

The new entity is not named as a defendant either in James' lawsuit or the ongoing Trump Organization trial, also in Manhattan.

Jones must be provided with new financial filings no more than five days after asking for them, unless the company successfully argues for an extension.

The company must give her at least 30 days' notice of any plan to sell "significant" assets or restructure the company. Alternately, the company must give her monthly statements swearing that no such activity has taken place.

Trump's company must pay Jones and any other professionals she reasonably finds necessary for her work.

"The Monitor's duties shall not include monitoring Defendants' normal, day-to-day business operations," Engoron's filing stressed.

Trump lawyers had fought the naming of a monitor, likening it to a state takeover of the former president's business.

A block north of Engoron's lower-Manhattan courtroom, in the borough's criminal courthouse, Trump Organization has been on trial for a month on tax-fraud charges.

Trump's ex-CFO, Allen Weisselberg, was on the witness stand for a second day Thursday, tearing up as he described his "betrayal" of the Trump family.

The longtime company financial executive must testify truthfully to keep his August low-jail tax-fraud plea deal.

But he's also clearly loyal to Trump, who has continued to pay Weisselberg a $1.4 million salary-bonus package.

His testimony that he was Trump's betrayer, rather than his co-conspirator, is helpful to the defense, which wants jurors to see Weisselberg's admitted tax fraud as an act of personal greed that started and stopped with him.

Weisselberg's testimony continues Friday.