Donald Trump has sued New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) in the state of Florida, accusing James of waging a war of “intimidation and harassment” against the former president and demanding that she be blocked from pursuing a tax fraud lawsuit against him.
“Extraordinary wrongdoing requires extraordinary relief,” the complaint, filed Wednesday, begins. “James has repeatedly abused her position as Attorney General for the State of New York to pursue a relentless, pernicious, public, and unapologetic crusade against President Trump, a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, with the stated goal of destroying him personally, financially, and politically. Suffice it to say that these actions are contrary to both the laws of New York and Florida.”
The lawsuit accuses James of violating Trump’s “rights to privacy and property” and his “rights as grantor and beneficiary of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.”
In September, James announced a massive civil lawsuit accusing Trump and his children Ivanka Trump, Donald J. Trump, Jr., and Eric Trump of tax fraud and seeking to bar all of them from serving as officers or directors of any New York-based corporation.
The trust is the owner of Trump’s “global private enterprise,” according to Trump’s lawsuit, and it also “contains his private estate plan and present decisions regarding the disposition of his assets upon death.”
Disclosing the contents of that trust while Trump is still alive, the lawsuit says, “threatens the settlor’s right to privacy guaranteed by Article I, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution and the common law.”
The former president’s complaint, signed by some of the same lawyers behind Trump’s letter threatening to sue the members of the Pulitzer Prize board and members, is relatively light on legal arguments, but it does contain multiple restatements of Trump’s long list of grievances and insults against the top prosecutor of his one-time home state.
The complaint describes a “continuing witch hunt” against Trump that started when he announced his candidacy for president in 2015 and describes his business as “a great and prosperous company but a company nevertheless that must be carefully, delicately, yet powerfully managed[.]”
The lawsuit also calls James a “political hack” who is “out-of-control” and in charge of a “failed and poorly rated AG’s office from distant New York.”
It refers to James’ political career as a “a cartoonish, thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign President Trump for personal political gain” that “has morphed into a plot to obtain control” over the trust.
The lawsuit also takes aim at one-time Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and has provided sworn testimony that his former boss cooked his company books in order to gain tax benefits. Wednesday’s lawsuit calls Cohen a “discredited, disgraced, and disgruntled former attorney who evaded taxes on income from his taxicab medallions, made false statements to financial institutions for personal gain, and lied to Congress, as grounds for initiating the investigation of President Trump.”
The 35-page complaint signals a future plan for more lawsuits.
“The damages caused to The Trump Organization are practically incalculable but Plaintiff intends to bring an action at a later point against James and the State of New York for the tens of millions of dollars lost and the tremendous cost associated with ridiculous and frivolous litigation,” a footnote says, before repeating the right-wing talking points that “many businesses are exiting New York for more friendly environments” while “violent crime skyrockets and the residents lack basic safety in many places.”
Trump’s lawsuit demands declaratory relief stating that “James has no jurisdiction over the assets of a Florida revocable trust and no authority to supplant or control the powers of the trustee,” as well as an injunction to “prevent [James’] future attempts to unlawfully supplant the Trustee or exercise powers held by the Trustee in any manner, either personally or through an agent.”
The attorney general did not seem fazed by Trump’s claims.
“Multiple judges have dismissed Donald Trump’s baseless attempts to evade justice, and no number of lawsuits will deter us from pursuing this fraud,” a spokesperson for James’ office said. “We sued Donald Trump because he committed extensive financial fraud. That fact hasn’t changed, and neither will our resolve to ensure that no matter how powerful or political one might be, no one is above the law.”
You can read a copy of Trump’s complaint here.
[Picture of James via Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images. Photo of Trump via Brandon Bell/Getty Images.]
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