April 1, 2023

Trump’s 2020 campaign just got accused of breaking the law and an Attorney General is on the case

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A new report says that New York’s new Attorney General is set to investigate the Trump 2020 Campaign – already – for the illegal practice of law after a Massachusetts lawyer filed a complaint with her office.

Attorney J. Whitfield Larrabee filed the complaint after determining that Trump 2020 is paying the Trump Organization for “legal consulting” even though New York state law prohibits corporations from practicing law and can result in a criminal conviction and penalties.

If any of the eleven payments went towards defending Donald Trump or Michael Cohen during the Stormy Daniels lawsuits, then they could turn out to be incriminating payments for the President.

New York AG Letitia James won last year’s election with a pledge to leave no stone unturned investigating the state’s most infamous resident, President Trump, and according to the New York Daily News, they’re paying very close attention to this complaint:

A person familiar with the matter said the AG’s office is “aware” of the allegations outlined in Larrabee’s complaint and may move toward pursuing them…

Federal Election Commission filings show the Trump 2020 campaign paid the Trump Corporation $178,300 for “legal consulting” between June 2017 and August 2018. In June 2017 alone, the campaign dished out $89,651 on such consulting services, according to the filings.

It’s not just a matter of Trump using his political campaign to perpetrate a scheme of grossly unjust self-enrichment.

New York law criminally prohibits corporations from most acts of legal services or representation unless they’re a non-profit or organized to offer indigent services to people who cannot afford a lawyer.

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As Larrabee’s complaint explains in more detail, Donald Trump should be on the hook for his allegations because of his personal ownership of the Trump Organization, and even his sons could face jail time. The Bay state lawyer explained more in a blog post:

“By allowing his campaign to pay The Trump Corporation $178,300 in 11 payments for legal consulting, Trump could face charges for assisting the corporation in the illegal practice of law.

Eric and Don, Jr. could also be charged with assisting in the crimes by allowing the corporation to engage in the illegal practice of law. The Trumps are facing up to a year in jail for each violation if they are charged and convicted.”

Larrabee told the News that Trump’s latest form of graft is also legally similar to the federal charges Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is facing for misappropriation of campaign funds.

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The Trump Organization accepted 11 checks for “legal consulting” but it’s totally unclear what, if any, lawsuits the Trump 2020 Campaign has become embroiled in already. Alan Garten is the Chief Legal Officer at Trump’s company and general counsel for more than the last decade.

However, we do know that Donald Trump used extensive legal services from the Trump Organization’s Jill Martin, who defended him in the Stormy Daniels case.

It would be extremely ironic if Trump’s campaign claimed those particular legal bills as campaign expenses. His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s criminal conviction for making illegal hush money payments last year came about because they were unreported campaign donations and expenses, which is something Trump denies because admitting that they were campaign-related would be admitting to the crime.

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“Even a kindergartener can understand this complaint,” said the attorney who filed it, Larabee, to the Washington Press. “The payments went on for so long and so many instances, there’s no way they’ll be able to claim that it’s just a paper mistake.  With the amount involved nearing $180,000, even if you’re a lawyer making $1000-per hour – which some of these people do – then almost 180 hours is a whole lot of work, a month full time.”

“This guy Garten is like a Michael Cohen,” said Larrabee. “He’s a sitting duck.”

State crimes aren’t subject to the presidential pardon power, and that makes this complaint a potentially potent vector of attack for prosecutors seeking to stop the Trump family from committing more crimes.

Read the entire complaint here: 

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also a mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition, and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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