In 2013, Florida’s Attorney General once considered joining a New York lawsuit filing fraud charges against Trump University after her office received complaints from former students in the state — until she received a sizable donation to her re-election campaign from Donald Trump. Then she decided not to take action against the presumptive GOP nominee.
Boston trial lawyer Whitfield Larrabee has a word for that: Bribery.
Wednesday, Larrabee filed federal bribery complaints with the U.S. Attorney’s offices in New York and Tallahassee alleging Bondi dropped the state’s case citing a lack of evidence against Trump’s school after receiving a $25,000 donation to her political committee from Trump.
Larrabee believes there is enough evidence to prompt criminal charges against Bondi, saying:
If it looks like a bribe and quacks like a bribe, I think it’s a bribe.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Bondi’s office started investigating complaints from former students at Trump University Sept. 13, 2013. Campaign finance records show the donation was made Sept. 17, 2013, to Bondi’s PAC And Justice for All. She declined joining New York’s lawsuit shortly after.
Evidence strongly indicates that Bondi’s decision not to initiate or participate in litigation against Trump University was given in exchange for Trump’s contribution based on the short time period between the receipt of the political contribution and the announcement of Bondi’s decision not to participate in the New York litigation.”
The Associated Press reported in June that Bondi’s political consultant, Marc Reichelderfer, revealed she had personally solicited the donation.
Larrabee also filed ethics and elections complaints in the state, but those are still under review.
One reporter says he dug through 8,500 pages of documents from the Florida’s AG office to see if they had actually investigated the complaints they received from students swindled out of tens of thousands of dollars. Columnist Scott Maxwell found very little had been pursued in the Florida case and complainants were encouraged to join the New York lawsuit, or perhaps search Google to find a way to win back their money.
Bondi says the allegations are untrue and Florida Gov. Rick Scott called Larrabee’s actions politically motivated. Larrabee, who is not a registered Democrat, simply says it’s his duty to report unethical behavior.
In early GOP debates this campaign season, Trump even bragged about using his money to get politicians to do what he wanted, saying:
“I give to everybody. When they call, I give. You know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them, and they are there for me.”
The AP also accused Trump of rewarding then-Texas AG now-Gov. Greg Abbott after his office decided not to pursue charges against Trump’s fraudulent school, though the donation was made years after the suit was dropped, for Abbott’s gubernatorial election.
For anyone keeping score, Trump just had a Federal Elections Committee investigation opened against him Wednesday for soliciting donations from foreign nationals, he is still entangled in a federal fraud suit over Trump University, a woman filed federal civil charges against Trump for allegedly raping her when she was 13-years-old, and now he may be facing criminal charges for bribing Florida’s Attorney General.
Quite a candidate you got there, Republicans.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Spencer Platt