New York’s attorney general wants to end former President Donald Trump’s attempt to end a year-long civil investigation into his business practices and asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss his lawsuit aimed at halting the investigation.
Attorney General Letitia James argued in court papers that Trump’s lawsuit, filed last month in federal court in upstate New York, is a sudden “collateral attack” on his investigation, designed in part to shield him from a recent citation.
James, a Democrat, said there was no legal basis for Trump’s lawsuit and no evidence to support the Republican’s claim that the investigation is purely political. He also said that a federal court has no role in intervening in an investigation that has been overseen in part by a state court judge.
In a statement responding to Wednesday’s court filing, Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said, “Once again, Letitia James fails to address her egregious and unethical conduct in her weak response to our complaint.”
Prior to the subpoena, Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, complied with the investigation and never questioned the underlying legal basis for the investigation or the legal authority of the attorney general’s office to conduct it, James said in court documents.
James called claims in the lawsuit that his investigation was not legal or warranted a “total change of course,” after Trump previously agreed to release his 2014-2019 income tax returns to his office, while his company provided more than 900,000 documents and testimony from more than a dozen current and former employees.
Trump contends in the lawsuit that James’s investigation into the matters, including the valuation of his company’s assets, violated his constitutional rights in a “thinly veiled effort to publicly smear Trump and his associates.”
The lawsuit describes James as having a “personal disdain” for Trump, pointing to numerous statements he has made about him, including his boasting that his office sued his administration 76 times and tweeting during his 2018 campaign that he had his “eyes on Trump.” Trump Tower” and that Trump “was running out of time.”
In fighting the subpoenas James issued to Trump and his two eldest sons, Trump’s attorneys have argued that any testimony they provide in his civil investigation could be used against him in a parallel criminal investigation overseen by the Washington District Attorney’s office. Manhattan.
Trump is seeking a permanent injunction barring James from investigating him and preventing her from being involved in any “civil or criminal” investigations against him and his company, including a parallel criminal investigation she is a part of that is being led by prosecutor of the district of Manhattan, Cyrus Vance. Jr Although the civil investigation is separate, James’ office has been involved in both.
Trump also wants a judge to declare that James violated his right to free speech and due process. A conference on the case is scheduled for March 21 in Albany before US Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel.
In a state court filing last week seeking to force Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. to comply with subpoenas, James’ office said it had uncovered evidence that the Trump Organization used “fraudulent or misleading” valuations of their golf clubs, skyscrapers and others. property to obtain loans and tax benefits.
James said his office hasn’t decided whether to file a lawsuit over the allegations, but that investigators should be able to question Trump and his two eldest sons under oath as part of the investigation. A state court judge, Arthur Engoron, scheduled arguments in the subpoena dispute for February 17.
In Wednesday’s court filing, James rejected Trump’s assertion that his investigation is political, saying his public statements also referred to litigation his office brought on behalf of state residents, including a lawsuit challenging his plans. for the 2020 census and a lawsuit that led to the closure of Trump’s charity over concerns about improper spending.
Accusations of political bias based on “excerpts from press releases, tweets and public appearances” are legally insufficient and “do not support a plausible inference that the investigation lacks an objective and reasonable basis,” James’s office said in its motion. of dismissal.
James announced her candidacy for governor of New York in late October but suspended her campaign in December, citing ongoing investigations into her decision to seek re-election as state attorney general.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.