Can a Democrat ‘Hero’ Land a Knockout Blow To The Resilient Republican Former President?
The civil fraud lawsuit issued against most of Donald Trump’s family this week has garnered headlines and underscored the animosity between a Democrat Attorney General and the Trump family.
Letitia James filed the lawsuit against the entire Trump family, excluding just Tiffany and Baron, seeking to bar all four Trumps sued from serving as executives in New York and to prevent the Trump Organization from acquiring any commercial real estate or receiving loans from New York-based entities for five years.
It follows a lawsuit filed earlier in the year by the Trumps, which accused James of repeated threats of investigation and lawsuit, now realized with the present lawsuit, and saying she had abandoned legal principals and used the family to “garner votes, money and support”.
The Trump filing says that the James’ “investigation and prosecution [is] based solely on political animus” and that “such selective prosecution violates the Equal Protection Clauses of the Federal and New York States Constitutions and requires that the subpoenas be quashed.”
Donald Trump also sued James in the federal court in December, seeking to end the investigation from her office after she requested that he sit for a Jan. 7 deposition. That lawsuit alleges that the probe has violated his constitutional rights in a “thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates.”
The latest civil fraud lawsuit is the culmination of a major investigation into the Trump Organization, claiming the defendants falsely inflating his net worth by billions in order to enrich himself and secure favorable loans for the business.
Letitia James said the matter had been referred to federal prosecutors and to the Internal Revenue Service. The family members sued had been deposed during the investigation in New York, which had begun when Trump was president.
Also named in the lawsuit are Allen Weisselberg, Jeffrey McConney, The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.
,The lawsuit seeks to bar all four Trumps from serving as executives in New York and to prohibit the Trump Organization from acquiring any commercial real estate or receiving loans from New York-based entities for five years.
Importantly, James also seeks $250 million in disgorgement.
In several cases, James said in her statement, Trump manipulated the value of his properties by using methods in violation of general accounting principles and against the advice of outside professionals, the lawsuit charges. He claimed his 11,000-square-foot apartment on Fifth Avenue was 30,000 square feet and valued at $327 million in 2015 and 2016 – more than three times its actual value, she said.
Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump were all deposed during the New York investigation, which began when Trump was president and lasted for three years.
Who Is Letetia James?
Letitia James is a Democrat and regarded as an activist, winning the 2018 election for New York’s Attorney General office making her the first African American to hold the position.
A former public defender and member of the New York City Council for eight years, she then became the high profile Public Advocate in New York before her current role. She had originally planned a run for New York’s mayoralty before deciding upon the Attorney General role.
Not shy to take profile prosecutions, in 2020 she sued the National Rifle Association in the New York Supreme Court, which the powerful NRA opposed and countersued. She also issued proceedings relating to the Covid neglect of residents in New York nursing homes.
That was followed by a report her office released into the allegations of sexual harassment made against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The Trump Lawsuit
The current lawsuit against the Trump family is unquestionably the highest profile of her various high profile claims and has, some reports say, made her the “hero” of the Democrat Party.
James herself has downplayed the political aspects of the current lawsuit, citing various statistics relating to the alleged overvaluations and other claims relating to the Trump family businesses finding over 200 false valuations, she said, calling it evidence of a scheme that she characterized as “astounding.”
During an interview this year James said, “This has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the law.”
Trump has survived dozens of lawsuits, investigations and political setbacks over the years through sheer force of will and a willingness to shade or misrepresent the facts.
A Trump lawyer, Alina Habba, said in a statement, “Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law — rather, it is solely focused on advancing the attorney general’s political agenda,” but the statement did not dispute any specific facts in the complaint.
The question now is whether Letitia James’ lawsuit can land a knockout blow on the previously impervious, but embattled, Donald Trump.