New York attorney general hires top corruption prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump

Ben Kentish
Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, has strengthened his team, as he looks to oppose Donald Trump through the US legal system: Getty Images

A leading corruption prosecutor has been appointed to investigate Donald Trump and his administration by the state of New York.

Eric Schneiderman, the state’s attorney general and an outspoken critic of the Republican president, has brought in Howard Master to work on ongoing and future cases relating to Mr Trump and his team.

Mr Master previously worked under the Manhattan US Attorney and is considered one of the top corruption prosecutors in the US.

He successfully prosecuted Sheldon Silver, a former speaker of the New York state assembly, for fraud, extortion and money laundering in 2015.

His appointment is designed to bolster Mr Schneiderman’s department at a time when the New York attorney is investigating a number of options for using the legal system to oppose Mr Trump.

Mr Master “will be working on a wide range of civil and criminal investigations and enforcement matters, including public corruption, complex civil litigation”, including potential lawsuits against the President," said Eric Soufer, a spokesman for Mr Schneiderman.

In 2013, Mr Schneiderman brought a lawsuit against Mr Trump over fraud claims relating to his property development training company, Trump University.

It was alleged the businessman had conned a number of students out of tens of thousands of dollars by not delivering the promised standard of education. Mr Trump eventually agreed to settle the dispute out of court, paying $25 million (£20 million) to end the case.

Last week Mr Schneiderman’ s department joined a case, launched by Washington state, against Mr Trump’s revised executive order banning immigration from six mainly-Muslim countries for 90 days.

“The Trump administration’s continued intent to discriminate against Muslims is clear and it undermines New York’s families, institutions and economy”, Mr Schneiderman said at the time.

The New York attorney general is also said to be investigating whether to pursue litigation relating to allegations the US President is breaching the US Constitution by continuing to receive money from foreign governments via his hotels and properties, which are often used by foreign state organisations for functions or office space.

Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution says no holder of public office can “without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state”.

A number of legal experts have said Mr Trump is acting unconstitutionally in continuing to receive money from foreign states. His lawyers say they do not believe he has breached the Constitution.

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