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New York AG office says end of Trump investigation nears

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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer for the New York Attorney General’s Office said Friday that the office is nearing 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 brought against Attorney General Letitia James as he seeks to end his investigation. His lawyers argued that the investigation was a politically motivated fishing expedition.

Trump is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the investigation, which James says has uncovered evidence that Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, misjudged the value of assets such as skyscrapers and golf courses in financial statements for over a decade.

James asked a judge to dismiss Trump’s lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Brenda Sannes said she would assess both issues and issue a ruling in writing. She heard arguments for about an hour via video. She did not give a timeline for a decision.

Trump lawyer Alina Habba argued that James, a Democrat, campaigned for the job in 2018 as a Trump antagonist and, as attorney general, used the office to harass the former Republican President and company with a myriad of subpoenas and demands for evidence.

“We’ve produced millions and millions and millions of ‘evidence’ pages,” Habba told Sannes. “We keep getting subpoenas. They keep looking for things. If they can’t find it, they search again.

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

That finding, combined with the evidence uncovered so far, “really shuts the door on any argument” from Trump’s attorneys that the office was proceeding in bad faith, Amer said.

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

James’s office “ties someone else’s hands behind their back and says we’re going to attack you and we choose to attack, you can defend, but you can’t retaliate. I can’t drop motion to dismiss.

“We are sitting with our hands tied. We’re just avoiding subpoenas at this point,” Habba said.

Trump’s attorneys argue that James is using his civil investigation to gain access to information that could then be used against him in a parallel criminal investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, also a Democrat.

Because it is civil in nature, James’ investigation could decide to take legal action and seek financial sanctions against Trump or his company, or even a ban on involvement in certain types of businesses.

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

An agreement posted on the state court docket set an April 30 deadline, but Habba said Trump’s lawyers recently agreed to another extension.

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

A state appeals court heard arguments on Wednesday as Trump sought to overturn Judge Arthur Engoron’s February 17 ruling requiring him to answer questions under oath in James’s 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 his slow response to a subpoena for documents and other evidence. . Oral arguments in this case are not expected before the fall.

Engoron agreed on Wednesday to lift the contempt finding if Trump meets the conditions, including paying $110,000 in fines accrued so far, and submitting documents detailing efforts to search the subpoena records and explaining their document retention policies and those of their company.

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