Trump Sues AG to Stop Investigation Into His Real Estate Business

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Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday in an attempt to block her civil investigation into whether the real estate mogul submitted false property values to potential lenders.

The lawsuit claims James’ investigation is politically motivated and asks a judge to halt the attorney general’s work, The New York Times reported. The suit comes more than a week after the Times reported that James would attempt to subpoena Trump for questioning next month.

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“The investigations commenced by James are in no way connected to legitimate law enforcement goals, but rather, are merely a thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates,” the suit reads. “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, called the investigation “partisan” and said in a statement the suit’s purpose was to stop the “bitter crusade to punish her political opponent.”

James dropped out of the New York’s governor’s race on Dec. 9, and plans to run for reelection for her job as New York State attorney general instead, saying that she dropped out to finish “a number of important investigations and cases that are underway.” 

James said in a statement that Trump would not dictate the course of her investigation, though she did not clarify if her investigation into the former Republican president was one she considered when taking her hat out of the ring.

“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,” James said in a statement. “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.”

The attorney general’s civil investigation, which began in March 2019, is similar to a separate investigation from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who earlier this year indicted the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg. According to the indictment, Weisselberg evaded taxes to score $1.76 million worth of perks, like a luxury Upper West Side apartment, leased Mercedes-Benzes and private school tuition for his relatives.

Trump was not indicted under Vance’s investigation, and has not been individually accused of wrongdoing. A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: This story has been updated to include statements from Trump’s attorney and James.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.