facebook linkedin twitter

Trump Sues NY Attorney General, Seeking to End Civil Probe

December 20, 2021by Michael Sisak, Associated Press
Trump Sues NY Attorney General, Seeking to End Civil Probe
New York Attorney General Letitia James attends a rally in support of living wages for home care workers in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump sued New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday, resorting to a familiar but seldom successful strategy as he seeks to end a yearslong civil investigation into his business practices that he alleges is purely political.

In the lawsuit, filed in federal court two weeks weeks after James requested that Trump sit for a Jan. 7 deposition, Trump contends the probe into matters including his company’s valuation of assets has violated his constitutional rights in a “thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates.”

The lawsuit describes James, a Democrat, as having “personal disdain for Trump” and points to numerous statements she’s made targeting him in recent years, including her support of “die-in” protests against him, her boast that her office sued his administration 76 times and tweets during her 2018 campaign that she had her “eyes on Trump Tower” and that Trump was “running out of time.”

“Her mission is guided solely by political animus and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen who she views as a political opponent,” the former president’s lawyers wrote in the lawsuit, filed on behalf of Trump and his company, the Trump Organization.


In a statement, James said: “The Trump Organization has continually sought to delay our investigation into its business dealings and now Donald Trump and his namesake company have filed a lawsuit as an attempted collateral attack on that investigation.”

“To be clear, neither Mr. Trump nor the Trump Organization get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions. Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law, not even someone with the name Trump.”

James had announced a run for New York governor in late October, but earlier this month, she suspended that campaign and cited ongoing investigations in her decision to instead seek reelection as state attorney general.

News of the lawsuit, filed in upstate New York, was first reported by The New York Times. The case is assigned to Judge Brenda Sannes in Syracuse, who was appointed in 2014 by Trump’s predecessor President Barack Obama, a Democrat, but preliminary proceedings will be handled by a magistrate judge in Albany, which isn’t unusual for federal court.

Trump, a Republican, seeks 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, such as a parallel criminal probe she’s a part of that’s being led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Trump also wants a judge to declare that James violated his free speech and due process rights.

James has spent more than two years investigating whether the Trump Organization misled banks or tax officials about the value of assets — inflating them to gain favorable loan terms or minimizing them to reap tax savings.


Last year, James’ investigators interviewed one of Trump’s sons, Trump Organization executive Eric Trump. Her office went to court to enforce a subpoena on the younger Trump, who’s listed as president of a Trump company that controls one of the assets James has been scrutinizing, and a judge forced him to testify after his lawyers abruptly canceled a previously scheduled deposition.

Trump’s lawsuit didn’t explicitly mention James’ request for his testimony, aside from a brief reference. But it’s clear he won’t be showing up Jan. 7, James’ requested date, to answer questions voluntarily. As with Eric Trump, James’ office will now likely have to issue a subpoena and go to a judge to order the former president to cooperate.

It is rare for law enforcement agencies to issue a civil subpoena for testimony from a person who is also the subject of a related criminal probe, in part because the person under criminal investigation could simply invoke the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. It is unlikely that Trump’s lawyers would allow him to be deposed unless they were sure his testimony couldn’t be used against him in a criminal case.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is conducting a parallel criminal investigation into Trump’s business dealings. Although the civil investigation is separate, James’ office has been involved in both.

Earlier this year, Vance gained access to Trump’s tax records after a multiyear fight that twice went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Vance, a Democrat who is leaving office at the end of the year, recently convened a new grand jury to hear evidence as he weighs whether to seek more indictments in the investigation, which resulted in tax fraud charges in July against the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg.

Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he and the company evaded taxes on lucrative fringe benefits paid to executives.

Both investigations are at least partly related to allegations made in news reports and by Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, that Trump had a history of misrepresenting the value of assets.

James’ office issued subpoenas to local governments as part of the civil probe for records pertaining to Trump’s estate north of Manhattan, known as Seven Springs, and a tax benefit Trump received for placing land into a conservation trust. Vance later issued subpoenas seeking many of the same records.

James’ office has also been looking at similar issues relating to a Trump office building in New York City, a hotel in Chicago and a golf course near Los Angeles. Her office also won a series of court rulings forcing Trump’s company and a law firm it hired to turn over troves of records.


___

Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak.

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

In The States

May 18, 2022
by Dan McCue
Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Redistricting Maps

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Republican-drawn congressional map that divides a racially diverse portion... Read More

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Republican-drawn congressional map that divides a racially diverse portion of the Kansas City metropolitan area, despite concerns the new district lines will dilute the minority vote. As previously reported in The Well News, the lawsuit... Read More

May 18, 2022
by Reece Nations
Cawthorn Ousted as North Carolinians Pick Their November Nominees

RALEIGH, N.C. — Matchups for North Carolina's general elections were revealed late on Tuesday as the state's primary results rolled... Read More

RALEIGH, N.C. — Matchups for North Carolina's general elections were revealed late on Tuesday as the state's primary results rolled in. Perhaps the biggest election night surprise came as incumbent GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn conceded the 11th Congressional District race to state Sen. Chuck Edwards. The... Read More

May 17, 2022
by Reece Nations
California Fights Inflation With Relief Package, Minimum Wage Bump 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Californians are getting help addressing the costs of rising inflation through a higher minimum wage and a... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Californians are getting help addressing the costs of rising inflation through a higher minimum wage and a new relief package proposal from Gov. Gavin Newsom. California's minimum wage will rise to $15.50 per hour next year under a state law passed in 2016... Read More

Pennsylvania Governor Race Divides Republicans, Unites Dems

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — As Pennsylvania Republicans prepare to choose a nominee for governor Tuesday, some party officials are twisted... Read More

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — As Pennsylvania Republicans prepare to choose a nominee for governor Tuesday, some party officials are twisted in knots over the possibility of a primary victory by a candidate many see as too far to the right to win statewide this fall. Doug... Read More

Buffalo Shooter's Prior Threat, Hospital Stay Under Scrutiny

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white gunman accused of committing a racist massacre at a Buffalo supermarket made threatening comments that brought... Read More

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white gunman accused of committing a racist massacre at a Buffalo supermarket made threatening comments that brought police to his high school last spring, but he was never charged with a crime and had no further contact with law enforcement after his release... Read More

Parishioners Subdue Gunman in Fatal California Church Attack

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (AP) — A man opened fire during a lunch reception at a Southern California church, killing one... Read More

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (AP) — A man opened fire during a lunch reception at a Southern California church, killing one person and wounding five senior citizens before a pastor hit the gunman on the head with a chair and parishioners hog-tied him with electrical cords. Jerry... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top