Trump Family Bites Back in Legal Response to New York Attorney General's Mounting Investigation

The Trumps have long contended that the investigation into their business is politically motivated, as the attorney general recently claimed she had evidence of wrongdoing

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Photo: James Devaney/GC Images

Former President Donald Trump and his family are accusing New York Attorney General Letitia James of playing politics with her probe into their business dealings.

In a complaint filed this week in New York, attorneys for the 75-year-old former president and two of his adult children — Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump — argue that James has used her mounting investigation into the family as a way to "garner votes, money and support, and now, as Attorney General, to gain political support."

Attorneys for the Trumps also claim James broke Federal Election Commission rules that ban campaigning on the promise of a criminal investigation. (A spokesperson for James did not immediately respond for a request for comment on the Trumps' response.)

Included along with the family's new complaint are exhibits such as a campaign email sent by James, in which she asks if respondents "approve of Donald Trump as president," and a 2017 tweet, in which James wrote, "Hey @realDonaldTrump, we're in Queens, your hometown, rising up against your xenophobic policies, & we're ready to act."

Trumps' attorneys contend that James' public statements about the former president show that her probe is politically motivated and that her office "impermissibly targeted Donald Trump's associates and companies for investigation and prosecution based solely on political animus."

James has been investigating whether the Trump Organization misstated the value of its assets on annual financial statements, tax submissions and other documents in order to secure loans and insurance coverage and obtain other economic and tax benefits.

In a statement sent to PEOPLE, James said the Trump family and its attorneys are continuing to "evade accountability" with the same "baseless" argument they've made previously.

"Another day, another baseless attempt by the Trump Organization and Donald J. Trump to evade accountability," James said in an emailed statement. "Throughout the three years of this investigation, they have never questioned our legal authority until Donald J. Trump himself was subpoenaed to testify. As with every investigation, we will continue to follow the facts wherever they lead."

Letitia James
Letitia James. Dee Delgado/Getty

Earlier this month, her office announced it had filed paperwork to request a judge to force the former president, Don Jr. and Ivanka to testify.

The family has said the probe is baseless and the former president's adult children previously asked a judge to quash what they called an "unprecedented and unconstitutional" bid for their testimony after being subpoenaed in December.

In their latest complaint, the Trumps say the subpoenas violate the Equal Protection Clauses of the Federal and New York States Constitutions and should therefore be quashed.

Speaking to the Washington Examiner for a recent interview, Trump said the probe into his company and its executives — including his children — was purely political.

"[James] campaigned on a whole issue of, 'I'll get Trump. I'll get Trump.' And that's all it was," he said.

The attorney general's office claimed earlier this month it has evidence of "fraudulent or misleading asset valuations" used by the Trumps to secure loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions.

"Each of the individuals was directly involved in one or more transactions under review," James' office said in a previous statement.

President Trump's middle son, Eric Trump, who serves as an executive vice president at Trump Organization, was subpoenaed earlier and testified in 2020.

"For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used delay tactics and litigation in an attempt to thwart a legitimate investigation into its financial dealings," James said in an earlier statement. "Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit."

In an interview with theGrio published Tuesday, James said she was doing her job.

"No one is above the law," she said. "I pursue cases based on evidence, based on facts and based on an analysis of the law … the politics stop at my door."

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