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Trump sues N.Y. AG Letitia James to stop 'bitter' fraud investigation into his business

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Trump sues N.Y. AG Letitia James to stop 'bitter' fraud investigation into his business
Trump Tower is seen near Fifth Avenue in New York City on March 7. New York Attorney General Letitia James began an inquiry two years ago to determine whether Trump's organization has committed fraud by inflating and minimizing the value of assets to gain fiscal breaks. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit on Monday against New York Attorney General Letitia James in a bid to stop her two-year civil investigation into questions about his business practices.

Trump argues that James' investigation into the Trump Organization violates his constitutional rights and is motivated by "her own self-interests," according to the 30-page lawsuit.

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"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 complaint states.

James, a Democrat, began the inquiry two years ago to determine whether the organization has committed fraud by inflating and minimizing the value of assets to gain fiscal breaks.

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Trump accused James of having "tirelessly bombarded him" and his family business with "unwarranted subpoenas in a bitter crusade" since she took office in 2019.

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James said recently that she planned to compel Trump to give a deposition for the inquiry. Eric Trump, one of Trump's sons and a Trump Organization executive, was subpoenaed to force him to give a deposition.

The Trump International Hotel is seen at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, D.C., on July 3. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI"

"The investigations commenced by James are in no way connected to legitimate law enforcement goals, but rather, are merely a thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates," Trump's suit says.

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The complaint goes on to accuse James' investigation of being "solely" motivated by a "desire to harass and intimidate" a political opponent -- and says James has previously shown bias against him. It lists multiple examples of critical statements James has made against Trump dating as far back as 2016.

"Prior to Trump's inauguration, [James] retweeted calls for sit-ins to protest Trump's nomination of Jeff Sessions to be United States Attorney General," it says.

Trump notes that James' campaign website at one time included a detailed outline for her strategy to root out corruption, including the investigation of Trump's business, and referred to him as an "illegitimate president."

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James' investigation is being conducted concurrently with a criminal investigation by outgoing Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., which started in 2018. Vance began his probe after Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and tax evasion.

"Cohen was previously convicted of committing a federal offense in connection with the precise act that [James] claims to have relied upon -- testifying before Congress," Monday's suit says. "Cohen, formerly an attorney at law, was eventually disbarred for his fraudulent and deceitful misconduct"

In her response to the suit, James said Monday that courts have previously ruled in favor of her investigation.

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"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," James said in a statement.

"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 someones with the name Trump."

In October, James entered the race to become governor of New York after her office investigated sexual assault accusations made against then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat. She dropped out earlier this month to run again as New York attorney general.

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