Legal scholar Alan Dershowitz suggested that former President Donald Trump should move to have New York Attorney General Letitia James recused and disqualified from the investigation into Trump’s business.
“I like Letitia James. She’s a very nice person, but she campaigned on the promise to get Trump before seeing any evidence, and so she is just fulfilling a campaign promise,” he told Newsmax on Thursday. “You can’t have prosecutors even civilly prosecuting a defendant if they made a campaign promise that they have to fulfill. They are not neutral and objective.”
A Harvard Law professor emeritus, Dershowitz was making note of James’ 2018 campaign proclamation that she would prosecute Trump when in office.
“He should be charged with obstructing justice,” James said in a video released at the time. “I believe that the president of these United States can be indicted for criminal offenses. And we would join with law enforcement and other attorneys general across this nation in removing this president from office.”
James has been investigating the Trump Organization, the former president, and his children. Her office filed a civil lawsuit against the Trumps and their company on Wednesday, which the former president decried as a politically motivated attack.
Dershowitz, a longtime criminal defense attorney, wondered why James and the attorney general’s office are involved.
“Look, who are the people who were defrauded here, they claim? The biggest banks in the world. Why can’t the biggest banks sue him and take care of themselves?’ he asked on Thursday. “Why does Letitia James have to be out there protecting and defending the biggest banks in that country who haven’t sued him at all? So this doesn’t pass the test of a legitimate civil complaint, and I think they should challenge this vigorously.”
Dershowitz added that he doesn’t believe James, a Democrat who is up for reelection in November, “cares as much about losing as having brought the lawsuit,” which is “not the way the criminal justice system or the civil justice system should work.”
On Wednesday, James announced the filing of a mammoth, $250 million lawsuit against Trump’s family and company for allegedly engaging in fraud by over-inflating the value of their properties.
“These acts of fraud and misrepresentation were similar in nature, were committed by upper management at the Trump Organization as part of a common endeavor for each annual Statement, and were approved at the highest levels of the Trump Organization—including by Mr. Trump himself,” according to the suit.
Other than the 45th president, his children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump are also named as defendants in the suit. Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer for the Trump Organization, and Jeff McConney, another executive, also were named in the complaint.
In response, Trump wrote on social media that he “never thought this case would be brought” but believes that “her really bad poll numbers” might be a contributing factor.