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NY attorney general Letitia James ends run for governor to continue Trump investigation

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New York Attorney General Letitia James suspended her campaign for governor on Thursday, saying she will run for reelection to her current position to “finish the job” amid numerous ongoing investigations.

Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James addresses a news conference at her office, in New York, May 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

James, a Democrat, had announced in late October that she was running for governor, two months after a sexual harassment investigation she oversaw led former Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign. She had been expected to be a strong challenger against Gov. Kathy Hochul for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in an increasingly crowded field.

“I have come to the conclusion that I must continue my work as attorney general,” James, a Democrat, said in a statement. “There are a number of important investigations and cases that are underway, and I intend to finish the job. I am running for re-election to complete the work New Yorkers elected me to do.”

James, 62, is the first woman elected as New York’s attorney general and the first Black person to serve in the role.

James ended her campaign for governor the same day it was reported that she was seeking to have former President Donald Trump sit for a deposition in an ongoing civil probe into his business practices. A familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly and did so under the condition of anonymity told The Associated Press that James’ office requested the Trump provide testimony Jan. 7.

James’ office would not comment on the Trump matter but it has spent more than two years looking at whether the Trump Organization misled banks or tax officials about the value of assets.

Earlier on Thursday, James’ office canceled a planned event on Long Island.

Since she became attorney general in 2019, James’ office filed dozens of lawsuits against the Trump administration over federal policies on immigration, the environment and other matters. James also filed a lawsuit accusing National Rifle Association leaders of financial mismanagement — seeking to shut down the gun-rights organization — and has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements from companies involved in the opioid industry.

James’ decision to run for governor so soon after overseeing the investigation that led to Cuomo’s exit reinforced feelings among his allies that the probe was politically motivated — an assertion James has dismissed.

New York Attorney General Letitia James

As governor, Cuomo endorsed James for attorney general and headlined a fundraiser for her in 2018 as she ran in a four-way Democratic primary to replace Eric Schneiderman, who abruptly resigned amid allegations that he abused women.

Both the governor’s office and the attorney general’s office are on the ballot in 2022.

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