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New York AG Adds to Civil and Criminal Lawsuits Against Former President Trump

December 13, 2021 by Brock Blasdell
New York AG Adds to Civil and Criminal Lawsuits Against Former President Trump
In this Friday, May 21, 2021, file photo, New York Attorney General Letitia James acknowledges questions from journalists at a news conference in New York. James has announced that she is running for governor, according to three people directly familiar with her plans. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK — New York’s Attorney General Letitia James has subpoenaed former president Donald J. Trump to appear in a deposition next month to answer allegations regarding the Trump organization’s involvement in improperly valuing real estate assets. The request falls on top of a mountainous pile of civil and legal lawsuits ranging from financial crimes to election interference filed against the former president

James’ involvement in the civil lawsuit has drawn both praise and criticism. The Trump organization has called the investigation politically motivated, arguing that the attorney general is ignoring New York’s real issues to focus on a “Witch Hunt” designed to boost James’ popularity in her upcoming bid for governor. 

James, however, in an apparent attempt to legitimize the civil lawsuit against her critics, dropped her bid for governor on Thursday.

“I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general,” James wrote on Twitter regarding the matter. “There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job.”

James herself has a long-history of political battles with the former president. Much of her 2018 campaign for attorney general was founded on calls to topple the real-estate giant for his alleged financial crimes.

James’ request for a deposition joins the long-running criminal investigation led by the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., who alleges Trump, his family and his organization have been manipulating the values of financial assets to gain more favorable loans.

Vance subpoenaed Trump in August of 2019 for his tax records in an attempt to uncover what he alleged was a long history of financial fraud. The former president attempted to block the records from reaching the Supreme Court shortly after, arguing that as president he had immunity from criminal cases, but Vance successfully gained access to the records in February and has since been pursuing the investigation into Trump’s financial affairs. 

These New York based investigations also join a criminal investigation in Georgia regarding election fraud and Trump’s telephone conversation with Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – a phone call in which Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes. For context, the Georgia election was determined to be won by Biden by a margin of about 12,000 votes. 

Still, perhaps the most serious criminal allegations against Trump come at the behest of Congress regarding the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol. The committee is requesting records and testimony from individuals involved in the organization and planning of rallies that took place on that day, including any individuals who may have worked directly with the former president.

Trump, in a similar move to his tax records, attempted to block the release of such records in court. On Friday, however, a federal appeals court deemed them relevant to the case and approved the House Committee’s subpoena of witnesses related to the event. 

“Some of the witnesses we subpoenaed today apparently worked to stage the rallies on Jan. 5 and 6, and some appeared to have had direct communication with the former president regarding the rally at the Ellipse directly preceding the attack on the U.S. Capitol,” Chair Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., said in an official statement. 

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