'He's Just A Bad Guy': Judge Slams Claim That Trump Is Unfairly Singled Out In AG Probe

Trump's attorney argued the ex-president is a member of a "protected class" who should be safeguarded by law against New York's attorney general.
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A Manhattan judge Thursday called Donald Trump “just a bad guy” in a scathing rebuke to a lawyer arguing that the former president was being unfairly singled out for investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

At the end of the hearing, state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump — along with his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. — to comply with subpoenas and testify under oath in a civil investigation launched by James into suspicious Trump Organization business practices.

Attorney Alina Habba had argued that James was discriminating against Trump over his politics — and that he was part of a “protected class” that should be legally safeguarded from her investigation.

Habba argued that Trump was being discriminated against for his “viewpoint.” (Trump has called the investigation by James, who is Black, “racist.”)

James has “such disdain for this person because he was president, because he is Donald Trump and he could probably win again in ’24,” Habba argued during the hearing. “He has First Amendment rights. He’s allowed to be a Republican.”

Engoron responded: “There’s no viewpoint discrimination. I’m just saying there is none.”

When Habba claimed Trump was part of a “protected class,” Engoron responded: “Ah. What protected class is he a member of?”

His political speech,” Habba replied. “If he was not sitting as a Republican and was not a former president who might run again, this would not be happening. So she is discriminating against him for that.”

The judge and his clerk pointed out that protected classes include race, religion and sex.

“Donald Trump doesn’t fit that model,” Engoron flatly declared. “He’s not being discriminated against based on race, is he? Or religion, is he? He’s not a protected class,” the judge added.

“If Ms. James has a thing against him, OK, that’s not in my understanding [of] unlawful discrimination. He’s just a bad guy she should go after as the chief law enforcement officer of the state.”

After the contentious two-hour hearing, Engoron wrote in his ruling that when a state attorney general begins investigating a “business entity, uncovers copious evidence of possible financial fraud, and wants to question, under oath, several of the entities’ principals, including its namesake,” she has the right to do so.

For James not to investigate — especially after Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen testified that the company was “cooking the books” — would have been a “dereliction of duty,” Engoron noted.

The three Trumps have an “absolute right to refuse to answer questions that they claim may incriminate them,” he wrote.

James is investigating whether Trump or the Trump Organization falsified asset values to obtain loans and investors, and to pay lower taxes.

The Trump camp suffered a blow earlier this week after longtime accounting company Mazars USA severed ties with the Trump Organization, saying that 10 years of financial statements were unreliable.

Engoron’s order gave the Trump trio 21 days to provide depositions.

“Today, justice prevailed,” James said in a statement.

“No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are,” she added. “No one is above the law.”

The ruling is likely to be appealed by Trump’s lawyers.

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