New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a motion on Wednesday to throw out former President Donald Trumpâ€™s effort to stop an investigation into his business dealings, calling the effort a â€œfrivolousâ€ attempt to circumvent the law.
James launched the investigation in March 2019, shortly after Trumpâ€™s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that the real estate magnate had inflated some assets to obtain favorable loans and devalued others to pay less in taxes. The fraud probe has been a thorn in Trumpâ€™s side for years, and he filed suit against James in December, asking a federal court to dismiss the civil inquiry into his business practices and ban the attorney general from participating in another ongoing criminal probe.
James on Wednesday called the former presidentâ€™s suit â€œnothing but a baseless and meritless collateral attack by Donald Trump to stop our legal and legitimate investigation.â€
â€œIn the three years that we have been conducting this investigation, the Trump Organization and its principles have never challenged the legality of the investigation, until now, when Mr. Trump himself was subpoenaed to testify,â€ James said in a statement. â€œWe will not be deterred by frivolous lawsuits and will continue to follow the facts of this case because no one is above the law.â€
James went on to say that the Trump Organization had implicitly acknowledged the legal veracity of the case, complying with subpoenas and producing more than 900,000 documents.
Legal brinksmanship over the case has only intensified in recent weeks. James subpoenaed Trump and two of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, demanding that they testify in her investigation, and she later took legal action, asking a court to enforce the orders and her demand for documents.
Trump has fired back, accusing the attorney general of being â€œunfairâ€ and going after â€œchildrenâ€ â€” namely his 40-year-old daughter.
â€œHer 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,â€ reads Trumpâ€™s December suit, which was filed in federal court in Albany, New York.
James also upped the ante last week, saying publicly for the first time that her office had uncovered â€œsignificant evidenceâ€ in its probe that indicated the Trump Organization â€œused fraudulent and misleading asset valuations on multiple properties to obtain economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions for years.â€
Eric Trump, another of Trumpâ€™s children, has already been deposed and spoke to state investigators in October 2020.