Trump's attorneys accuse Letitia James of "conspiring" with Democrats to make tax returns public

The New York State attorney general has not been shy about using her office to investigate the president

By Alex Henderson

Published September 12, 2019 8:25AM (EDT)


This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has not been shy about using her office to investigate President Donald Trump. And Trump’s attorneys have claimed in a lawsuit that James, along with Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt, has been “conspiring” with the House Ways and Means Committee in the hope of making the president’s tax returns public. But the defendants have challenged Trump’s lawsuit, arguing that it should either be heard in federal court in New York rather than Washington D.C. ( where Trump’s attorneys want it to be held), or dismissed.

In a 44-page memorandum, however, Trump’s attorneys argue, “the New York defendants’ description of this case is unmoored from reality,” writing:

This is not an action by ‘a New York tax return filer’ against ‘New York officials’ to ‘challenge the constitutionality of a New York statute governing the treatment of New York tax information,” Trump’s attorneys write. “It is an action by the sitting president of the United States against a committee of Congress to challenge its constitutional authority to obtain his private tax information.

On Monday, Trump’s attorneys argued there are three reasons why the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia should deny the defendants’ motion to either have the case in New York rather than Washington or dismiss it. The first reason, the attorneys said, is that the motion is “premature” because Trump is entitled to “discovery”; in legal cases, “discovery” is the requirement that opposing sides share evidence.

The second reason has to do with jurisdiction. Because the defendants, Trump’s attorney say, “concocted a plan” to harm him in the District of Columbia, they should not “complain” about being dragged into court in that jurisdiction.

Third, Trump’s attorneys argue that dismissing the case wouldn’t be meaningful, because Trump will continue to challenge the constitutionality of the TRUST Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in early July.

Trump first filed the lawsuit in the District of Columbia on July 23. And in their motion, James and Schmidt are arguing that because they are public officials in New York, the D.C. court has no jurisdiction over them. If they were dismissed from the lawsuit, that would leave the House and Means Committee as the only defendant.

Alex Henderson

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