Donald J. Trump filed a lawsuit on Monday, December 20, 2021, against the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, seeking to halt her long-running civil investigation into his business practices.
The suit, filed in federal court in upstate New York by Trump and his family real estate business, argues that James’s inquiry, which has lasted more than two years, has violated Trump’s constitutional rights.
Trump and his lawyers have long argued that the investigation was politically motivated; the lawsuit asks a judge to agree and to stop the investigation.
“Her mission is guided solely by political animus and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen who she views as a political opponent,” the suit reads.
If James were to find evidence of wrongdoing, she could file a lawsuit against Trump, but because it is a civil inquiry, she could not file criminal charges.
Trump’s lawsuit comes less than two weeks after James signaled that she would seek to question Trump under oath early next month. At the time, Trump’s lawyers said that they would ask a judge to quash the subpoena, and they are still expected to do so in the coming days.
The developments in the civil investigation come during a critical phase of a separate, criminal investigation into the former president being conducted by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
That investigation is centered on whether Trump defrauded lenders by inflating the value of his assets. Ms. James’s office is also assisting in the criminal investigation.
Vance leaves office at the end of the year and has not yet signaled whether his investigation, which also focuses on Trump’s business practices, will be handed to his successor, Alvin Bragg.