The Trump Corporation Was Just Caught Illegally Practicing Law

A Trump Campaign report to the Federal Election Commission shows an $89,561 “legal consulting” fee was paid to The Trump Corporation. It is a crime under NY law for corporations to engage in the practice of law.

The Trump Campaign filed reports with the Federal Election Commission showing that The Trump Corporation repeatedly engaged in the illegal practice of law in 2017 and 2018. It is a crime under N.Y. Jud. L. § 495 for a corporation to engage in the practice law and for officers, trustees, agents and employees of a corporation to directly or indirectly assist it to practice law. Trump is the owner of The Trump Corporation, Don, Jr. is one of two Trustees and Eric is the CEO. 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.

The decision whether prosecute the case falls to New York Attorney General Letitia James who recieved a complaint about the violations on Thursday from Massachusetts attorney J. Whitfield Larrabee. James, who is newly elected, campaigned on the promise to hold Trump accountable and to “root out corruption, however large or small.” Her office declined to comment on the complaint when contacted by New York Daily News. A Daily News source advised: “the AG’s office is ‘aware’ of the allegations outlined in Larrabee’s complaint and may move toward pursuing them as part of a sweeping investigation into Trump’s business dealings.”

Larrabee suspects the payments to The Trump Corporation were for legal work performed by Jill Martin, a Trump Organization lawyer who actively worked to cover-up Stormy Daniels’ sexual encounter with Trump after the 2016 campaign. Referring to documents that were made public last March, Larrabee said, “Martin helped Essential Consultants, LLC to get a temporary restraining order against Stormy Daniels to stop her from talking about her affair with Trump. Essential Consultants, LLC is the shell company that Michael Cohen use to secretly pay off Daniels and other women who had affairs with Trump.” Larrabee added, “Martin was an assistant general counsel to The Trump Organization stationed at Trump National Golf Course in LA. Eric Trump and The Trump Corporation handle the Trump Organization’s real estate holdings and golf courses. Being stationed at a Trump Golf Course, Martin likely worked under the umbrella of The Trump Corporation. The timing and payments of money to The Trump Corporation suggest that they were for Martin’s legal work. The Trump Organization made the unlikely claim last year that Martin was working for Essential Consultants independently. I believe they were lying.”

The revelation that the Trump Campaign paid legal consulting fees to The Trump Corporation could result in federal charges against Trump and his sons, Larrabee warns. “I am sharing the FEC reports with the United States Attorney’s Office in New York because they are evidence of campaign finance violations, obstruction of justice and other crimes currently under investigation there. I hope this will help in the eventual prosecution of Trump for his participation with Michael Cohen in committing crimes. I’ll provide additional information to officials as I gathered it in my ongoing investigation.” Larrabee indicates that the U.S. Attorney’s office may be able to find out the details of the legal consulting performed for the Trump campaign based on the “crime/fraud” exception to the attorney-client privilege. “When parties are engaged in criminal activities such as the unlawful practice of law, the confidentiality of communications between the attorney and client is lost based on the “crime/fraud” exception.

Larrabee intends to follow up on his complaint to the Attorney General with a legal assault on Trump’s lawyers. Larrabee said, “I’m going to file a misconduct complaint with the New York Judiciary against Alan Garten, the chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, for permitting The Trump Corporation to illegally engage in the practice of law. Just like a lawyer for the mob, Garten should be kicked out of the profession and put in prison. I’ll probably also file misconduct complaints against the lawyers for the Trump campaign who partipated in these crimes.”

Larrabee has filed dozens of complaints with state and federal authorities against Trump, his sons and his political allies. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was recently disbarred in a case filed by Larrabee in Connecticut.