Conservative legal watchdog sues DOJ for records related to key figure in NY v Trump case


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A conservative nonprofit is suing the Department of Justice after it failed to release records requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) pertaining to Matthew Colangelo, a key figure in the New York criminal trial of former President Trump.

America First Legal (AFL) alleged in the lawsuit filed Monday that New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg – the lead official in Trump’s prosecution – hired Matthew Colangelo in December 2022 to reportedly “jump-start” his office’s investigation of Trump, reportedly due to Mr. Colangelo’s “history of taking on Donald J. Trump and his family business.”

TRUMP PROSECUTOR QUIT TOP DOJ POST FOR LOWLY NY JOB IN LIKELY BID TO ‘GET’ FORMER PRESIDENT, EXPERT SAYS

Lead prosecutor Matthew Colangelo previously worked in the DOJ before transitioning to the Manhattan DA’s office. (Fox News Digital | U.S. Dept. of Justice)

The lawsuit states Colangelo previously held senior positions at the DOJ and the New York Attorney General’s Office, “both of which had competing investigations” related to Trump. Colangelo left his high-ranking DOJ post to join Bragg’s investigation of Trump months before the indictment of the former president.

“It is not every day that the number three ranking DOJ official — the Acting Associate Attorney General — leaves his post to join a district attorney’s office. Yet, that is exactly what Mr. Colangelo did,” AFL said in a news release. “This calculated move reeks of partisanship.”

AFL Executive Director Gene Hamilton told Fox News Digital in an interview Tuesday that they had filed a FOIA request in 2023 to obtain Colangelo’s calendars and records discussing Trump to understand his transition from the DOJ to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

EX-TOP BIDEN DOJ OFFICIAL NOW PROSECUTING TRUMP WAS ONCE PAID BY DNC FOR ‘POLITICAL CONSULTING’.

Donald Trump arriving at Trump Tower

Former President Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York City on May 30, 2024, after being found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. (Felipe Ramales for Fox News Digital)

“We’re going to get those records, and we are going to obtain everything from his calendar entries to communications, for everything in between, to show and to help shed a light on this coordinated effort to get Donald Trump, that is unprecedented and has never been done before,” Hamilton said. “Because none of these records are public, and because this is a key central figure involved in the political persecution of Donald Trump, we think it’s vital and critical that we get records.”

After AFL’s initial FOIA request, it received an email from the Justice Department that acknowledged the request and asked for an extra 10 days to process the request due to “unusual circumstances,” according to the lawsuit. On Aug. 28, 2023, AFL replied to the email and agreed “to exclude publicly available news article compilations, provided they were not commented on by department personnel.” 

NY V TRUMP: HOUSE JUDICIARY INVESTIGATES BRAGG PROSECUTOR WHO HELD SENIOR ROLE IN BIDEN DOJ

Donald Trump sitting at defense table in courtroom

Former President Trump sits in the courtroom during his criminal trial in New York City on May 21, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/PoolAFP via Getty Images)

The Justice Department did not release any documents, the lawsuit alleges.

The AFL is not the only party interested in obtaining Colangelo’s records. Last month, Republican House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan sent a letter to New York Attorney General Letitia James demanding that her office turn over Colangelo’s documents. 

“Mr. Colangelo’s recent employment history demonstrates his obsession with investigating a person rather than prosecuting a crime,” Jordan wrote in his letter to James. 

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Colangelo has a lengthy resume in government, working in a variety of legal roles that date to the Obama administration, Fox News Digital previously reported. He most recently served nearly two years in the Biden Justice Department, including as acting associate attorney general and overseeing the Antitrust, Civil, Civil Rights, Environment and Natural Resources, and Tax Divisions.

The Justice Department did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment by press deadline.

Fox News Digital’s Emma Colton contributed to this report.



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