Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against New York Attorney General James

Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against New York Attorney General James

Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a news conference announcing a class action lawsuit against major technology companies at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster July 7, 2021 in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Michael M Santiago | Getty Images

A judge on Friday dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by former President Donald Trump in an attempt to prevent a civil investigation into his business by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

US District Judge Brenda Sannes’ ruling came a day after a New York state appeals court upheld subpoenas from James forcing Trump and two of his adult children to appear under oath for questioning as part of their investigation.

James called the recent verdict in her favor “a big win” in a Twitter post on Friday.

“Careless lawsuits will not prevent us from completing our lawful, legitimate investigation,” James tweeted.

Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, sued James in federal court in the Northern District of New York in December.

The lawsuit alleged that the Attorney General violated her rights in her investigation into allegations that the company illegally manipulated the reported valuations of various real estate assets in order to obtain financial gain.

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Trump and company claimed that James’ ‘disparaging’ comments about him during her candidacy and after her election showed her retaliation with her investigation into Trump, which was launched “in bad faith and without proper legal basis.”

Sannes dismissed those arguments in Friday’s 43-page judgment, writing, “Plaintiffs have failed to establish that the defendant instituted the New York proceedings to otherwise harass them.”

Sannes noted that James said their investigation was launched as a result of Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, testifying before Congress in 2019.

“Mr. Cohen has testified that Mr. Trump’s 2011-2013 financial statements variously inflated or depreciated the value of his assets to suit his interests,” Sannes wrote.

The judge also noted that under federal case law, contained in a 1971 judgment in a case known as Younger v. Harris’ known case, it states that “Federal courts generally should refrain from prohibiting or otherwise intervening ongoing state proceedings.”

Sannes said Trump failed to offer facts that would warrant an exception to that jurisdiction in his lawsuit.

“Plaintiffs could have asserted the claims and sought the relief they seek in the federal lawsuit,” Sannes wrote in a Manhattan state court.

The parties have resolved numerous disputes related to James’ investigation in the Manhattan Supreme Court.

James said in a prepared statement, “Time and again the courts have made it clear that Donald J. Trump’s baseless legal challenges cannot stop our lawful investigation into his financial dealings and those of the Trump Organization.”

“No one in this country can choose how the law applies to them, and Donald Trump is no exception. As we have said all along, we will undeterred continue this investigation,” said James.

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

“Unless Ms. James’ egregious behavior and harassing investigation does not comply with the malicious exception to the Younger abstention doctrine, I cannot imagine a scenario that would,” Habba wrote, referring to the element of Sannes’ decision regarding the jurisprudence from Jiinger v. harris.