Judge dismisses Trump federal lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James over her probe of business

Business

Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a press conference announcing a class action lawsuit against big tech companies at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 07, 2021 in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

A judge on Friday dismissed a federal lawsuit by former President Donald Trump that sought to bar a civil investigation of his business by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Brenda Sannes came a day after a state appeals court in New York upheld subpoenas issued by James compelling Trump and two of his adult children to appear for questioning under oath as part of her probe.

Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, last year sued James in federal court in the Northern District of New York. The suit claimed the attorney general violated their rights with her investigation into claims the company illegally manipulated the stated valuations of various real estate assets for financial gains.

Trump and his company claimed that James’ “derogatory” comments about him when she ran for office and after her election showed she was retaliating against Trump with her probe, which was commenced “in bad faith and without a legally sufficient basis.”

Sannes in her ruling Friday dismissing the case wrote, “Plaintiffs could have raised the claims and requested the relief they seek in the federal action” in state court in Manhattan.

The parties already have litigated numerous issues related to James’ investigation in Manhattan Supreme Court.

James, in a prepared statement, said, “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.”

“”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,” James said.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, in an emailed statement said, “There is no question that we will be appealing this decision.”

“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,” Habba wrote, referring to an element of Sannes’ decision.

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