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NY AG: No Basis for Trump Lawsuit      01/27 06:10

   

   NEW YORK (AP) -- New York's attorney general wants to put a stop to former 
President Donald Trump's attempted end-run around a yearslong civil 
investigation into his business practices, asking a judge Wednesday to dismiss 
his lawsuit aimed at halting the probe.

   Attorney General Letitia James argued in court papers that Trump's lawsuit, 
filed last month in federal court in upstate New York, is a sudden "collateral 
attack" on her investigation -- designed in part to shield him from a recent 
subpoena.

   James, a Democrat, said there was no legal basis for Trump's lawsuit and no 
evidence to support the Republican's claim that the probe is purely political. 
She also said there's no role for a federal court to intervene in an 
investigation that's been overseen in part by a state court judge.

   In a statement responding to Wednesday's court filing, Trump lawyer Alina 
Habba said, "Once again, Letitia James fails to address her egregious and 
unethical conduct in her weak response to our complaint."

   Before the subpoena, Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, complied 
with the investigation and never challenged the underlying legal basis for the 
investigation or the attorney general's office's legal authority to conduct it, 
James said in the court papers.

   James called claims in the lawsuit that her investigation wasn't lawful or 
justified a "complete about-face," after Trump previously agreed to turn over 
his 2014-2019 income tax returns to her office, while his company provided more 
than 900,000 documents and testimony from more than a dozen current and former 
employees.

   Trump contends in the lawsuit that James' investigation into matters, 
including his company's valuation of assets, violated his constitutional rights 
in a "thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates."

   The lawsuit describes James as having "personal disdain" for Trump, pointing 
to numerous statements she's made about him, including 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."

   In fighting subpoenas James issued to Trump and his two eldest children, 
Trump's lawyers have argued that any testimony they give in her civil 
investigation could be used against them in a parallel criminal investigation 
being overseen by the Manhattan district attorney's office.

   Trump is seeking 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. Although the civil investigation is 
separate, James' office has also been involved in the criminal probe.

   Trump also wants a judge to declare that James violated his free speech and 
due process rights. A conference in the case is scheduled for March 21 in 
Albany before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel.

   In a state court filing last week seeking to force Trump, Ivanka Trump and 
Donald Trump Jr. to comply with subpoenas, James' office said it had uncovered 
evidence the Trump Organization used "fraudulent or misleading" valuations of 
its golf clubs, skyscrapers and other property to get loans and tax benefits.

   James said her office hasn't decided whether to bring a lawsuit in 
connection with the allegations, but that investigators should be allowed to 
question Trump and his two eldest children under oath as part of the probe. A 
state court judge, Arthur Engoron, has scheduled arguments in the subpoena 
dispute for Feb. 17.

   In Wednesday's court filing, James pushed back at Trump's contention that 
her investigation is political, saying her public statements also pertained to 
litigation her office brought on behalf of state residents, such as a lawsuit 
challenging his plans for the 2020 census and a lawsuit that led to the closure 
of Trump's charity over misspending concerns.

   Allegations of political bias based on "snippets of press releases, tweets, 
and public appearances" are legally insufficient and "do not support a 
plausible inference that the investigation lacks any objective, reasonable 
basis," James' office said in its motion to dismiss.

   James announced a run for New York governor in late October but suspended 
her campaign in December, citing ongoing investigations in her decision to 
instead seek reelection as state attorney general.

 
 
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