Trump clams that New York Attorney General Letitia James’s probes into his business practices are but a continuation of a long-running “witch hunt.”
Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, saying the prosecutor’s investigation into his business practices is purely political.
According to National Public Radio, Trump claims that James’s probe into his business matters—including his company’s valuation of assets—violates his constitutional rights in a “thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates.”
The complaint, filed shortly after James requested that the former president sit for deposition in January, alleges that James has a “personal disdain for Trump,” pointing out numerous instances in which she has “targeted” him over the years.
In a Monday statement, Trump spoke directly to James, calling her probes a “continuation of the political witch hunt that has gone on against me.”
“This is not about delay,” Trump said, “this is about our Constitution!”
Trump’s lawsuit notes, for instance, that James has “boasted” that her office sued the Trump administration some 76 times; it also claims that some of James’s Twitter posts—including a statement that Trump was “running out of time”—indicate bias.
“Her mission is guided solely by political animus and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen who she views a political opponent,” the lawsuit says.
The complaint, adds National Public Radio, was filed on behalf of both Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.
Trump’s suit seeks a permanent injunction barring James from investigating him and preventing her from being involved in any “civil or criminal” investigations involving the former president and his businesses.
Beyond that, N.P.R. notes that that Trump wants a declaratory judgment stating that James violated his rights to free speech and due process, and that her investigations constitute “impermissible state action” to “retaliate against, injure and harass a political opponent.”
James, however, has dismissed Trump’s lawsuit as yet another frivolous attempt to ward off a much-needed investigation.
“The Trump Organization has continually sough 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,” James said, “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.”
Jonathon M. Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, told The New York Times he does not expect that the court will be swayed by Trump’s allegations of constitutional violations.
“Even if [James] has political beliefs about Trump,” Smith said, “there are legitimate claims that have been raised about the conduct of the Trump Organization and Trump himself that would justify the investigation.”