A Massachusetts lawyer has filed a complaint in New York state alleging that President Donald Trump’s company improperly and illegally provided consulting services to Trump’s campaign over the past two years.
The lawyer who filed the complaint, J. Whitfield Larrabee, provided PDF documents of his filing to Hill Reporter on Monday morning. Within those documents, there are several instances noted in which the president’s re-election campaign, filing legally required documents to the Federal Elections Commission, paid the Trump Organization tens of thousands of dollars at a time for services provided by the corporation related to the campaign between the two-year timespan of 2017 and 2018.
Within the field labeled “Purpose of Disbursement,” the campaign inserted the explanation of “legal consulting” from the Trump Organization in the box on those forms. Overall, more than $178,000 in fees within 11 instances were paid to the Trump Organization from Trump’s re-election campaign, Larrabee says.
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) February 3, 2019
The payments could spell trouble for Trump and his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. It is against the law for corporations to practice law in the state of New York. The Massachusetts lawyer further noted in his filing that state law forbids “officers, trustees, directors, agents, or employees of corporations from directly or indirectly assisting corporations to engage in the practice of law.”
“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,” Larrabee wrote in a Medium blog post discussing his recent filing. Each specific charge could render those found culpable up to a year in prison, the lawyer noted in his blog.
Because Trump is a “silent manager” of the trust that manages his assets, as well as the head of his own campaign committee, he could be found liable for the transgressions Larrabee asserted went down. As Donald Trump Jr. is one of the trustees managing the trust, and Eric Trump is the current CEO of the Trump Organization, their involvement could land them in legal hot water as well.
Larrabee filed his complaint to New York Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday, hoping that she’d pursue the matter further. He also forwarded the complaint to the U.S. Attorney General office in New York, hoping that it could help investigators there with various inquiries involving the president that they’re presently conducting.
Larrabee believes the evidence he’s collected of these potentially illegal acts of legal consulting could also demonstrate or corroborate “evidence of campaign finance violations, obstruction of justice and other crimes currently under investigation,” he wrote in his blog post.
He further suspects that the consulting fees paid to Trump Organization could be related to the Stormy Daniels affair that was exposed and discussed during the two years he documented. Jill Martin, a Trump Organization lawyer, was instrumental in doing work to cover-up the alleged affair.
“Martin helped Essential Consultants, LLC to get a temporary restraining order against Stormy Daniels to stop her from talking about her affair with Trump,” Larrabee noted. “Essential Consultants, LLC is the shell company that Michael Cohen use to secretly pay off Daniels and other women who had affairs with Trump.”
The complaint can be viewed in full below:COMPLAINT AGAINST THE TRUMP CORPORATION FOR ILLEGAL PRACTICE OF LAW