A federal court judge found that Trump and his legal team failed to demonstrate that New York Attorney General Letitia James’s investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization is primarily motivated by “political animus.”
A federal judge has dismissed former President Donald Trump’s lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, rejecting Trump’s allegations that the prosecutor is investigating him for political purposes.
According to The Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Brenda Sannes determined that case law prevents the federal courts from interfering in state-level investigations.
While the federal judiciary could intervene under exceptional circumstances, Sannes said that Trump was unable to demonstrate that James was solely motivated by political animus.
Furthermore, Sannes found that the attorney general appears to have a legitimate reason for targeting Trump and the Trump Organization.
Trump, said Sannes, failed to establish that recent court proceedings seeking to enforce subpoenas were “commenced for the purpose of retaliation.”
Sannes wrote that James’s public comments about the former president “make clear that she disagrees vehemently with Mr. Trump’s political views,” but that Trump and his attorneys had not made any connection between the attorney general’s opinions and investigation.
“The fact that [James’] public statements reflect personal and/or political animus toward [Trump] is not, in and of itself, sufficient,” Sannes said.
Speaking to the press, James said the ruling is a “big victory” over a “frivolous lawsuit.”
Sannes’ decision, adds The Associated Press, came just one day after another court ordered Trump to answer questions related to James’s investigation.
“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 written 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.”
Despite James’s comments, attorneys for the former president said that Sannes decision was a flawed misinterpretation of case law.
“There is no question that we will be appealing this decision,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said. “If Ms. James’s egregious conduct and harassing investigation does not meet the bad faith exception to the Younger abstention doctrine, then I cannot imagine a scenario that would.”
The Associated Press notes that Trump filed his lawsuit in December.
The former president has a longstanding reputation for using litigation as a weapon. In this case, Trump hoped that a lawsuit could end or significantly hinder James’ attempts to investigate his finances and the Trump Organization’s assets.
James, adds The Associated Press, launched her investigation after uncovering evidence that Trump and his businesses appear to have routinely misvalued properties—from skyscrapers to golf courses—for more than a decade.
Trump continues to claim that James’s probe is a continuation of the same “political witch hunt” he believes drove him out of office.