Trump Renews Claim That New York Lawsuit Against His Charity Is Biased

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump renewed his claim that New York’s lawsuit alleging rampant financial abuses by his personal charitable organization is politically motivated, citing comments made on the campaign trail by the state’s new attorney general, Letitia James.

New York’s June lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation should be barred over comments made by James and predecessors Barbara Underwood and Eric Schneiderman, who were both vocal Trump critics, Trump’s attorney Alan Futerfas said in documents filed last week in state court in Manhattan.

Trump Renews Claim That New York Lawsuit Against His Charity Is Biased

James called Trump an “illegitimate president” in the months before her November election and vowed to “use every area of the law" to investigate the real-estate mogul, his businesses and his family, according to the filing. Statements by all three attorneys general "express clear bias and animus and constitute an unlawful appearance of impropriety," Futerfas wrote.

A judge in November rejected Trump’s earlier claim about political bias and denied the president’s request to dismiss the suit. Futerfas cited James’s remarks as "additional facts" that should be considered.

“Once again, the Trump Foundation is making a sad attempt to distract from the real merits of this case, which are based on facts and the law," James’s spokeswoman, Delaney Kempner, said in a statement. "They have previously failed in their argument that this is politically motivated and we are confident that justice will prevail.”

Underwood sued the charity, alleging the foundation functioned as “little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” She cited a half-dozen specific transactions that she claimed violated state law, including the use of donated funds to resolve legal disputes and to buy a $10,000 portrait of Trump at an auction. She sought to temporarily bar the president, his daughter, Ivanka, and sons, Eric and Donald Jr., from serving as directors of any New York nonprofit.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.