By STEVE BITTENBENDER
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) —Former President Trump and the Trump Organization filed a lawsuit in a federal court last week to stop investigations by New York Attorney General Letitia James into both of them.
In a 30-page complaint, Mr. Trump and the company claim their First, Fourth and 14th Amendment rights have been violated. The suit seeks injunctions against Ms. James “to immediately cease or, at a minimum, appropriately limit all ongoing investigations” for the duration of the lawsuit. The plaintiffs also seek a judgment finding James’ actions represent “impermissible state action and an abuse of process” for political gain.
“She is entrusted with a great deal of power which she is obligated to use in a resolute and unbiased manner,” the lawsuit states. “Rather than embrace this responsibility, James has instead chosen to exploit it. For years, she has flagrantly abused her investigatory powers to target her political adversaries and advance her career. Her relentless attacks on Donald J. Trump serve as a prime example.”
The lawsuit lists Ms. James as “an outspoken political activist” and cited that four years ago, she made taking on the then-president a cornerstone of her campaign for attorney general.
Ms. James launched an investigation in 2019 into both Trump and the development company he established. That investigation started after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen told a Congressional panel that the company’s annual financial reports would inflate the values of certain properties in order to get better rates for loans and insurance plans while simultaneously downgrading other properties for tax purposes.
In May, it was reported the attorney general’s investigation was becoming a criminal case.
In a statement, Ms. James said Mr. Trump and his company have made it a point to stall the investigation. She called the suit filed in a U.S. District Court in Albany “an attempted collateral attack” on her office’s efforts.
“To be clear, neither Mr. Trump nor the Trump Organization get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions,” Ms. James said. “Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law, not even someone with the name Trump.”
Mr. Trump is not the only official to claim Ms. James has political motives behind her work.
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also called out Ms. James, saying she sought to capitalize politically off the independent investigation into sexual harassment claims against Mr. Cuomo, who resigned from office in August.
Earlier this year, Ms. James announced plans to run for governor next year and challenge incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul for the Democratic nomination. However, earlier this month, she reversed course and chose instead to run for re-election next year.