New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a federal judge Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Donald Trump that aims to end her yearslong investigation of his company, saying the attempt to thwart the probe comes only after the former president was subpoenaed.
In papers filed in federal court in Syracuse, lawyers for the attorney general's office questioned the timing of Trump's lawsuit, more than two years into a civil tax fraud investigation focused on the Trump Organization.
"The timing of this lawsuit against the Attorney General — coming only as OAG is nearing a conclusion of its Investigation, is contemplating the filing of an enforcement action, and has sought Mr. Trump’s sworn testimony — belies any notion that there is any objective behind this suit other than distraction and delay," the court filing said.
It noted that while Trump and his company have challenged some of the attorney general's legal demands in state court in New York City, “[a]t no point, despite having ample opportunity to do so ... did the Trump Organization or Mr. Trump ever challenge the underlying legal basis for the Investigation or OAG’s statutory authority to conduct the Investigation. Until now — only after Mr. Trump was served with a subpoena.”
Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump also received subpoenas.
Trump's lawsuit claimed that James' civil probe into his company's business practices was politically motivated and that he is the victim of "viewpoint discrimination." The lawsuit, which noted several instances in which James publicly said she planned to go after Trump in court, seeks a court order blocking her from "being involved in any manner in any civil or criminal actions against" Trump and his company.
James disputed the accusation that the probe was politically motivated, saying in Wednesday's court filing that her office has "uncovered substantial evidence establishing numerous misrepresentations in Mr. Trump’s financial statements provided to banks, insurers, and the Internal Revenue Service."
She urged the federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the Syracuse filing "smacks of forum shopping" — an attempt to find a friendlier legal venue. James added that Trump's company is in Manhattan, about 240 miles from Syracuse.
In a statement Wednesday, James said, "We will not be deterred by frivolous lawsuits and will continue to follow the facts of this case because no one is above the law.”
Trump's attorney, Alina Habba, said in a statement to NBC News: "Once again, Letitia James fails to address her egregious and unethical conduct in her weak response to our complaint."
After James' office revealed some of the evidence it had collected in a state court filing last week, the Trump Organization said in a statement that she has "no case."
"Her allegations are baseless and will be vigorously defended," the company said.