Trump sued last year alleging New York Attorney General Letitia James violated his constitutional rights by investigating him in bad faith. Trump based his argument on statements James made during her campaign for attorney general. He asked to block the investigation or force James’ recusal.
In throwing out the lawsuit, Sannes wrote: “In sum, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs could have raised the claims and requested the relief they seek in the federal action in the New York proceeding.”
Sannes added that to allow the lawsuit to proceed would interfere with ongoing state court actions, including New York Judge Arthur Engoron’s order holding Trump in civil contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena for documents.
“Granting the relief Plaintiffs seek would have the practical effect of interfering with the contempt ruling in the New York proceeding and runs the risk of rendering that order ‘nugatory,'” the judge wrote.
James and Trump have had numerous courtroom showdowns in New York state court over subpoenas stemming from the civil investigation into the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s financial statements.
Sannes’ ruling is the latest setback for Trump in his effort to stop or slow the investigation, which is nearing completion.
The federal judge also said she found no evidence that the litigation to support the enforcement of the subpoenas was in retaliation, or that anyone acted in “bad faith.” She said the investigation has a “legitimate factual predicate.”
James says her investigation into the Trump Organization will continue “undeterred.”
“Time and time again, the courts have made clear that Donald J. Trump’s baseless legal challenges cannot stop our lawful investigation into his and the Trump Organization’s financial dealings,” James said in a statement.
Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, pledged to appeal.
“There is no question that we will be appealing this decision,” Habba said in a statement. “If Ms. James’s egregious conduct and harassing investigation does not meet the bad faith exception to the Younger abstention doctrine, then I cannot imagine a scenario that would.”