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Trump sues NY attorney general, seeking to end civil probe

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump sued New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday, seeking to end a yearslong civil investigation into his business practices that he alleges is purely political.

In the lawsuit, filed two weeks weeks after James requested that Trump sit for a Jan. 7 deposition, Trump contends the probe into matters including his company’s valuation of assets has violated his constitutional rights in a “thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates.”

The lawsuit describes James, a Democrat, as having “personal disdain for Trump” and points to numerous statements she’s made targeting him in recent years, including her support of “die-in” protests against him, her boast that her office sued his administration 76 times and tweets during her 2018 campaign that she had her “eyes on Trump Tower” and that Trump was “running out of time.”

“Her 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,” the former president’s lawyers wrote in the lawsuit, filed on behalf of Trump and his company, the Trump Organization.

James had announced a run for New York governor in late October, but earlier this month, she suspended that campaign and cited ongoing investigations in her decision to instead seek reelection as state attorney general.

Trump, a Republican, seeks apermanentinjunctionbarring James from investigating him and preventing her from being involved in any “civil or criminal” investigations against him and his company, such as a parallel criminal probe she’s a part of that’s being led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Trump is also seeking a declaratory judgment stating that James has violated his free speech and due process rights and that her investigation constitutes “impermissible state action” to “retaliate against, injure and harass a political opponent,” in violation of the Constitution.

In a statement, James said: “The Trump Organization has continually sought to delay our investigation into its business dealings and now Donald Trump and his namesake company have filed a lawsuit as an attempted collateral attack on that investigation.”

“To be clear, neither Mr. Trump nor the Trump Organization get to dictate if

and where they will answer for their actions. Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law, not even someone with the name Trump.”

News of the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Albany, was first reported by The New York Times.

James has spent more than two years investigating whether the Trump Organization misled banks or tax officials about the value of assets — inflating them to gain favorable loan terms or minimizing them to reap tax savings.

Last year, James’ investigators interviewed one of Trump’s sons, Trump Organization executive Eric Trump. Her office went to court to enforce a subpoena on the younger Trump and a judge forced him to testify after his lawyers abruptly canceled a previously scheduled deposition.

Trump’s lawsuit didn’t explicitly mention James’ request for his testimony, aside from a brief reference. But it’s clear he won’t be showing up Jan. 7, James’ requested date, to answer questions voluntarily. As with Eric Trump, James’ office will now likely have to issue a subpoena and go to a judge to order the former president to cooperate.

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