New York attorney general’s office says it’s nearing the end of the Trump investigation

NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer for the New York attorney general’s office said Friday that the office is “near the end” of its three-year investigation into former President Donald Trump and his business practices.

Andrew Amer made the revelation during a hearing in a federal lawsuit Trump has filed against Attorney General Letitia James as he seeks to end her investigation. His lawyers argued that the investigation is a politically motivated fishing expedition.

Trump is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the investigation, which James said uncovered evidence that Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, misrepresented the value of assets such as skyscrapers and golf courses in financial statements for more than a decade.

James has asked a judge to dismiss Trump’s lawsuit.

US District Judge Brenda Sannes said she would weigh both issues and deliver a written decision. She listened to the arguments for about an hour via video. She did not give a timetable for a ruling.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, argued that James, a Democrat, campaigned for office in 2018 as a Trump antagonist and, as attorney general, has used the office to harass the former Republican president and his company with countless subpoenas and requests for tests.

“We have produced millions and millions and millions of pages” of evidence,” Habba told Sannes. “We continue to receive citations. They keep looking for things. If they don’t find it, they look again.”

Amer, a special trial attorney for James, countered that the state judge overseeing legal fights over subpoenas issued by the attorney general’s office has found there is “sufficient basis to continue his investigation.”

That finding, combined with the evidence uncovered to date, “really closes the door on any argument” by Trump’s lawyers that the office was acting in bad faith, Amer said.

Habba also took issue with how the investigation and state court battles over subpoenas for business records and Trump’s testimony unfolded.

James’ office “ties another person’s hands behind his back and says we’re going to attack him and if we choose to attack, he can defend himself, but he can’t fight back. I can’t file a motion to dismiss.

“We are sitting with our hands tied. We’re just dodging subpoenas right now,” Habba said.

Trump’s lawyers contend that James is using his civil investigation to gain access to information that could later be used against him in a parallel criminal investigation being conducted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, also a Democrat.

Because it is civil in nature, James’ investigation could lead to a lawsuit seeking financial sanctions against Trump or his company, or even a ban on them from engaging in certain types of business.

The attorney general’s office and Trump’s lawyers have reached several agreements extending the timeline for a possible decision, writing in a court filing that doing so “is in their mutual benefit and interest.”

An agreement published in the state court file set a deadline for April 30, but Habba said Trump’s lawyers recently agreed to another extension.

Trump is also appealing two recent decisions by the state judge handling subpoena issues related to the investigation, which could further delay the end of the investigation.

On Wednesday, a state appeals court heard arguments in which Trump seeks to overturn Judge Arthur Engoron’s Feb. 17 ruling requiring him to answer questions under oath in the James investigation.

Trump is also appealing Engoron’s April 25 decision to hold him in contempt of court and fine him $10,000 a day for delay in responding to a subpoena for documents and other evidence. Oral arguments in that case are not expected until the fall.

Engoron agreed Wednesday to lift the contempt ruling if Trump meets conditions, including paying $110,000 in fines accumulated so far and submitting documents detailing efforts to search for the subpoenaed records and explaining document retention policies. of him and his company.

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