New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a federal judge in Florida to reject former President Donald Trump’s second attempt to “end-run” her fraud lawsuit against him in Manhattan.
“This action is Mr. Trump’s second improper attempt to collaterally attack and end-run around rulings that have been issued by the presiding judge in the New York proceedings, Justice Arthur Engoron,” the AG’s assistant wrote in a 23-page motion to dismiss.
Engoron, who once found Trump in contempt of court for defiance of a subpoena, presided over the years long fraud investigation and currently presides over the lawsuit it produced. James accuses Trump, his adult children and his business of having engaged in pervasive fraud, over the course of roughly a decade.
James notes that the Trump filed his first such attempt one year ago in a federal court in upstate New York, before the attorney general filed her lawsuit but during the height of her investigation. Trump claimed that the Democratic attorney general’s probe was politically motivated, but a federal judge dismissed that case, finding no reason for a federal court to interfere with state proceedings.
“This second attempt to evade the New York proceedings and Justice Engoron’s authority should meet the same fate for many, independent reasons,” the motion states.
She argued that a federal judge in Florida has no jurisdiction over a New York attorney general.
Under the Supreme Court’s Rooker-Feldman precedent, James says, Trump has no jurisdiction as a “state-court loser” seeking to collaterally attack the court’s final, appealable orders.
Trump’s claim that the fraud lawsuit was politically motivated repeatedly flopped in court, James noted.
In the first instance, trial court judge, New York Supreme Court Justice Engoron, rejected them.
He was hardly alone in that determination.
“The premise of Mr. Trump’s suit is that OAG’s investigation and pursuit of the New York proceedings is unlawful and violates his constitutional rights based on public statements made by AG James,” the motion states. “But this contention is precluded by a final order issued by Justice Engoron upholding the investigation as legally and factually sound and not attributable to animus, which was unanimously affirmed on appeal by the New York Appellate Division. The federal judge in New York made the same findings.”
Justice Engoron also appointed a monitor to oversee the Trump Organization, finding a “demonstrated propensity” for Trump, his children, and his businesses to “engage in persistent fraud.” He then tasked that monitor — ex-Southern District of New York Judge Barbara Jones, a former special master in the cases of Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani — with immediately reporting any “unusual,” “suspicious” or “fraudulent” activity.
A Manhattan jury recently convicted the Trump Organization of a 13-year tax fraud scheme, after hearing testimony by its former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty to the crime.
James’s suit is civil in nature, and it seeks to bar Trump or his children from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation. She says that effort should meet no resistance from a federal court in the Sunshine State.
“Simply put, this case should be dismissed, with prejudice,” the motion states.
Toward the conclusion, she adds that the court should impose ” any other relief the Court deems necessary and appropriate” beyond permanent dismissal.
Trump’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment left outside of business hours.
Read the motion to dismiss here.
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