AG Letitia James Hit with BAR Complaint Over Trump Insults

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    lev radin / shutterstock.com
    lev radin / shutterstock.com

    According to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, New York Attorney General Letitia James made more than 50 controversial comments on social media during the initial five weeks of the trial, which began in October 2023.

    In response to what she perceives as explicit bias displayed by James, Stefanik filed an official bar complaint on February 12. The trial in question involves a high-profile civil fraud case brought by James against the former president, with a pending ruling from Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron. The stakes are high, with potential penalties including a $370 million disgorgement of Trump Organization funds and a permanent ban on Trump conducting business in New York.

    Stefanik’s complaint alleges that James violated professional conduct rules for attorneys, which dictate that legal officers should maintain public confidence in the justice system and avoid conduct reflecting adversely on their fitness as lawyers. The complaint contends that James’s conduct, including numerous media statements and social media posts, undermines these principles.

    James’s remarks during the trial accused Trump of repeated lies and fraud, with her social media posts featuring infographics labeling the case as “Donald Trump’s art of the steal.” Stefanik argues that James’s pursuit of the case stems from a “personal vendetta” against Trump dating back to his assumption of office, citing James’s prior statements and actions against Trump.

    Even before bringing the lawsuit, James had publicly displayed animosity toward Trump, participating in protests and expressing opposition to his administration. Campaign footage also surfaced showing James vowing to target Trump if elected attorney general. Stefanik asserts that James’s bias has tainted her handling of cases involving Trump, leading to what she deems as frivolous investigations and lawsuits.

    In 2022, James initiated the lawsuit alleging that Trump had manipulated the system to benefit himself by exaggerating his net worth for years. James said that upholding the principle of equality before the law is her duty, and she is committed to ensuring its application to all individuals. Regardless of wealth or influence, everyone in this country must abide by the same laws. However, that doesn’t give her the right to make comments on a case that she is heavily involved in, as it has the potential to influence the outcome.

    Criticism of James’s conduct isn’t confined to political opponents. Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.), who played a key role in Trump’s impeachment proceedings, characterized James’s behavior as indicative of a personal vendetta, emphasizing the importance of prosecutors maintaining neutrality.

    Additionally, a former high-ranking law enforcement official, Chuck Rosenberg, argued that James should recuse herself from Trump-related cases due to her public comments demonstrating bias.

    According to the complaint, the NY Attorney General and the former president are involved in a bitter legal dispute. The complaint raises serious concerns about the integrity of the legal process and the possible influence of political biases on it. Stefanik has requested that James be suspended while the Attorney Grievance Committee conducts an investigation. Ultimately, Stefanik aims to have James disbarred. The American Bar Association holds that lawyers who engage in improper conduct may face penalties such as probation, suspension, or disbarment.

    Stefanik has submitted numerous complaints against judges linked to cases involving Trump or the January 6 Capitol attack. Among them is Judge Arthur Engoron, who presides over Trump’s civil fraud case. Engoron previously imposed a gag order on Trump following public criticism of a law clerk.

    In the upcoming election, Stefanik has been mentioned a number of times as a possible running mate for Donald Trump. The Congresswoman from New York was seen campaigning alongside Trump in New Hampshire over the weekend. She has been vocal in her support for the former president and is helping him on the trail as he seeks to regain the highest office.