How a Trump Lawyer Is ‘Fishing’ for Info on Other Probes With the New York AG Case

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Reuters/Getty

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Reuters/Getty

As Donald Trump prepares for an indictment that could come any minute now, one of his top lawyers is apparently trying to use another case to siphon information about every possible pending investigation into the former president—including ones that Trump might not even know about yet.

That covert effort was revealed this week in a previously unreported letter that the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James (OAG) submitted in state court. James and Trump’s attorneys have battled over subpoenas for weeks as her $250 million fraud suit against the Trump Organization barrels ahead.

According to the letter, Trump’s defense team, led by his go-to lawyer Alina Habba, has subpoenaed several companies central to the case—including Deutsche Bank and Trump’s former accounting firm, Mazars—requesting “information about other governmental investigations into the Trump Organization in addition to information about the conduct of the OAG investigation.”

The subpoenas, which have not previously been known to the public, will be submitted to the court under seal. The OAG is asking the judge in the case, Arthur F. Engoron, to quash the effort, calling it “utterly irrelevant” and “an improper attempt to seek information on separate criminal and regulatory investigations that are not relevant to this proceeding.”

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The demands in the subpoenas are sweeping, almost to the point of paranoia.

The requests communications include with the Manhattan District Attorney—who is reportedly preparing to indict Trump in a separate matter—along with “any other federal or state law enforcement agency concerning not just this case but any law enforcement investigation of Donald J. Trump and The Trump Organization,” the letter said.

That scope is so broad and invasive, the New York AG argues, that it shows the Trumps are “simply fishing for information” in an apparent attempt to “investigate investigations” or “even uncover investigations they may not be aware of.”

In addition to Deutsche Bank and Mazars, the letter said, the subpoenas targeted Zurich American Insurance, Ladder Capital, and Cushman & Wakefield. Those firms would be critical to any attempt to unravel the financial dealings of the Trump Organization and its officers.

According to the letter, Trump’s counsel also served “at least nine subpoenas” to law firms representing those companies. But that effort, the letter points out, would likely be both duplicative and moot, as it would violate attorney-client privilege.

Trump’s move, the OAG argued, would also appear to reflect a “witch hunt” defense. As the letter notes, Egoron had warned against that tactic in an earlier hearing, saying “hopefully there will be discovery of not whether this is a witch hunt, because we have already gone through all of this, and it’s on the record there shouldn’t be’ t be discovery about these things.”

It wouldn’t be the first time Trump has engaged in a “witch hunt”—a term he enjoys applying to any inquiry into his own actions.

Trump has long deployed that line of attack against James. Her investigation—involving whether the former president, his company, and three of his adult children habitually submitted fraudulent financial statements in order to obtain favorable loans and insurance terms—has dragged on for years, in large part thanks to Trump’s efforts to delay and impede the probe .

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As that lawsuit moves forward, Trump and his family find themselves at the center of a legal blizzard.

Local prosecutors in Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Manhattan are all investigating him, for matters ranging from abuse of executive power to shady business deals. While the Manhattan case is rumored to produce charges any day now, the Georgia investigation is said to be not far behind. And the Justice Department continues to advance its twin probes into the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump’s efforts to hoard government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

But James, a Black woman twice elected to high office in Trump’s former home state, has appeared to elicit a unique ire. Trump has sued her office twice, with both lawsuits widely regarded as bald-faced and frivolous attempts to derail her work as the pressure on Trump increased.

The first suit came in December 2021, accusing James of engaging in a politically motivated “witch hunt.” It was dismissed five months later. Then, last November—a scant two months after James sued him and his family—the former president filed a wild countersuit in Florida, accusing the NYAG of spearheading a “plot to obtain control of a global private enterprise” and “steal, destroy or control all things Trump.”

Trump dropped that suit on Jan. 20, exactly two years after leaving office. The day before he pulled out, a Florida judge had ordered the former president and his lawyer, Alina Habba, to pay more than $1 million in sanctions as a penalty for their frivolous racketeering lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and a number of co-conspirators.

Those aren’t the only recent outlandish attempts to stop James. In January, Habba also tried to argue that the Trump Organization doesn’t exist.

Just last week, Trump’s lawyers contradicted that claim in a slip-and-fall case, also in New York.

“THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION, lNC. was and still is a domestic business corporation authorized to do business in the State of New York,” wrote Trump’s lawyer.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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