Federal Judge Rejects Trump’s Appeal to End AG Investigation

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A judge tossed out a lawsuit filed by former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization that attempted to litigate an end to the investigation by New York Attorney General Leticia James into their real estate operations.

Judge Brenda Sannes of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York based her decision on case law, which she said bars federal judges from interfering in investigations by state authorities. Sannes called the motion for a preliminary injunction “moot.”

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Trump launched the lawsuit in December 2021 hoping the courts would agree with his view that the state attorney general’s probe into the assessed value of four of his properties was little more than a “witch hunt” and an attempt to fulfill campaign promises made by James in 2018.

“Time and time again, the courts have made clear that Donald J. Trump’s baseless legal challenges cannot stop our lawful investigation into his and the Trump Organization’s financial dealings,” James said in a statement. “No one in this country can pick and choose how the law applies to them, and Donald Trump is no exception. As we have said all along, we will continue this investigation undeterred.”

The dismissed complaint against the attorney general said that James is “an outspoken political activist and member of the Democratic Party” who “began displaying severe animosity” toward Trump after his 2016 election victory led him to a single term in the White House. The Trump Organization claims James showed renewed interest in the investigation during her short-lived run for governor at the end of 2021.

In the course of her office’s investigation into Trump, the former president has been held in contempt of court for failing to comply with subpoenas — paying a $110,000 fine in the process — and Cushman & Wakefield has asked for some privacy for its clients as James has cast doubt on whether the firm followed industry standards regarding the appraised values of properties such as 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, Seven Springs Estate in Westchester, N.Y., and Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.