US-NEWS-NYGOV-JAMES-NY

Source: New York Daily News / Getty

Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against New York’s Attorney General Letitia James on Monday (December 20th), claiming she “exploited” her powers in investigating him.

As first reported by The Daily Beast, Trump filed the lawsuit in an attempt to halt James’ long-running investigation into charges that his organization committed several instances of civil tax fraud. “Since taking office, she has tirelessly bombarded him, his family, and his business, Trump Organization LLC, with unwarranted subpoenas in a bitter crusade to ‘take on’ the President,” the suit read. The unusual lawsuit was filed to also declare that Trump’s rights were violated in the course of the investigation.

“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,” Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba says. “Letitia James targets President Trump with a callous disregard for the ethical and moral obligations she swore to abide by when she became attorney general.” Liz Harrington, a representative for Trump issued a statement from him through her Twitter account, in which he falsely claimed that “New York is dying before our eyes” and derided James’ brief gubernatorial campaign as a reason she and other “Democrat prosecutors” “focused on… how we can get and punish Donald Trump, who many would say has done, over the years, a spectacular job for New York!”

The lawsuit also takes aim at Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, who has cooperated with the Attorney General on the investigation that began in 2019. “Defendant is well-aware that, based on his prior history, Cohen is an unreliable source whose sworn testimony lacks any semblance of credibility,” the filing reads referencing his involvement with the case.

The current investigation by James’ office has ties to a case currently being brought against longtime Trump Organization chief financial officer Allan Weisselberg, which the Manhattan District Attorney is overseeing. In that case, which Weisselberg has pled not guilty, he and the organization have been charged with reporting false information to banks and tax authorities for over 15 years. The case is expected to begin in March of 2022.

James’ investigation has rankled Trump for quite some time, particularly as her office filed a formal request to personally interview Trump at the beginning of next year earlier this month. At the time, Ronald Fischetti, a lawyer for Trump dismissed the request. “They have been investigating this for three years. We are not concerned about it because he has done nothing wrong,” he said to the press.

The former president’s lawsuit also reveals how much his television viewing factored in the lawsuit’s construction, containing references to James’ appearance on the daytime talk show The View earlier this month. “When asked what led to her decision to exit the race, Defendant explained that she has ‘unfinished businesses,’ [sic] among them being her ‘investigations into the Trump Organization and into certain individuals,’” it reads.

When contacted for a response, James released a statement through her office, saying: “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.”