The Trump family and its foundation are trying—again—to argue that the New York attorney general’s office is pursuing allegations of self-dealing against them for purely partisan reasons.
In a Friday filing, President Trump, his three eldest children and the foundation noted that state Attorney General Letitia James, who assumed office in January, has vowed to ‘use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.’”
They further alleged that James “ran on an anti-Trump campaign where she expressed grave antipathy and animus” towards Trump, referring to him as an “’illegitimate President.’”
The suit is “gratuitous and a misuse of public resources,” the foundation alleged, brought only because of the “clear bias” of the Democratic attorney general’s office.
James is the third attorney general to oversee the foundation case, which alleges that Trump used his non-profit to settle personal financial matters and advance his political career. The investigation was initiated by disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and his successor, Barbara Underwood, filed the suit in civil court last June.
Like Schneiderman, James is a sharp critic of what she sees as Trump’s abuses of the law.
The Trumps have tried to stake this claim of unfair political bias before, with little success. The President, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump sat on the foundation’s board.
Judge Saliann Scarpulla in November rejected the foundation’s motion to dismiss the suit, calling the allegations laid out in the petition “very serious.”
“I find that there is no basis for finding that animus and bias were the sole motivating factors for initiating the investigation and pursuing this proceeding,” Scarpulla wrote in the ruling.
In court, too, the judge has chided both parties for trying to drag her into a fight over partisan motivations.
“I know you all argued about political bias and stuff,” Scarpulla said at an October hearing. “I don’t want to get into that.”
“The color is whatever you put on it or the AG puts on it, but not something that’s interesting to me,” she added.
Trump in December signed off on an agreement to dissolve the foundation, with the attorney general’s office securing final approval over which charities receive the $1.75 million left in the foundation’s accounts.
The last filing discloses that another lawyer has joined longtime Trump attorney Alan Futerfas in handling the case. Marc Mukasey, son of the former attorney general and close ally of Rudy Giuliani, is now helping to represent the Trump family.
Read the full filing below.