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RNC paying some of Trump’s legal fees in New York probe into Trump Organization

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. Most of the four-day RNC meeting will be held virtually, but delegates are meeting in Charlotte, the original site of the convention before worries about the coronavirus shut it down, to formally nominate Trump and Vice President Pence for a second term. (Photographer: Chris Carlson/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) — The Republican National Committee is paying some of former President Donald Trump’s legal bills, using donor funds to help him pay an attorney representing him in a New York investigation into his company’s business practices, according to campaign finance filings and a party spokeswoman.

The RNC made two payments totaling $121,670 to Fischetti and Malgieri LLP in October, the committee’s recently filed report with the Federal Election Commission shows. Ronald Fischetti, a partner in the firm and a criminal defense attorney, is representing Trump in a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization’s business practices.

Fischetti did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. Trump aides also did not immediately respond.

The Washington Post first reported the payments.

A spokeswoman for the RNC said in a statement that its “Executive Committee approved paying for certain legal expenses that relate to politically motivated legal proceedings waged against President Trump.”

“As a leader of our party, defending President Trump and his record of achievement is critical to the GOP,” she added. “It is entirely appropriate for the RNC to continue assisting in fighting back against the Democrats’ never ending witch hunt and attacks on him.”

The Democratic National Committee swiftly seized on the statement, saying in its own that “the RNC said it best: Donald Trump leads the Republican Party.”

“Ronna McDaniel and the Republican National Committee are using their donors’ money to finance Trump’s personal legal defense while he sits on hundreds of millions of his own money as well as campaign funds,” spokesperson Adonna Biel said in the statement. “This is today’s GOP — a party that will do anything for a divisive and incompetent ex-president who cost their party the House, Senate, and White House and thousands of Americans their lives and livelihoods. If we were the RNC’s donors, we would certainly be asking questions.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office is investigating the Trump Organization and its officers in a wide-ranging probe to determine whether it improperly inflated the value of assets to obtain loans and insurance or lowered the values to pay lower taxes.

James’ office teamed up with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office earlier this year and announced an indictment charging the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with running a 15-year tax fraud scheme.