New York AG Threatens Church For Pro-Trump Event

President Donald Trump has an extremely aggressive political opponent in New York State Attorney General Letitia James. She campaigned for office on the promise that she would use any prosecutorial tool available to her to investigate Trump in every way possible.

James has followed through to target Trump and his businesses, leading to a heated deposition last week in which the former president refused to answer many questions under the privilege provided by the Fifth Amendment.

The top law enforcement official in New York State has now turned her attention to harassing a church with threats because it dared to host an event by a group favorable to the former president.

James’s threats led Eric Trump, a member of the group, to warn attendees that the A.G. was monitoring the event and said she would prosecute any perceived “civil rights violations.”

Even though James acted to chill the church’s rights to speech and assembly, the threats did not receive widespread media attention.

Conservative legal blog Legal Insurrection obtained a copy of the letter to the church, which can reasonably be interpreted as an effort to convince the church not to host the event at all.

The letter is addressed to Cornerstone Church in Batavia, located in upstate New York near Buffalo. The group the church hosted is the Reawaken America Tour. The group has traveled around the country since April 2021 and its speakers include General Michael Flynn.

The group originally planned to appear in Rochester, but a campaign by local officials against the group led to the appearance being moved to Cornerstone Church. James then wrote on August 3 to the group in care of the church.

James makes it clear to the group that she is the state’s top law enforcement officer and she has “significant concerns” that the group’s appearance “could spur extremist or racially motivated violence.” She said her concerns stem from “past extremist statements” by speakers on the tour.

James directly accused the group of espousing the “Great Replacement Theory,” which she went on to describe as a white nationalist conspiracy theory. She claimed that the theory is linked to this year’s grocery store shooting in Buffalo.

She cited the state’s civil rights laws and laid out the penalties involved in violations of the law. She led directly into speculating about future speech that she might prosecute at the tour’s presentation. James specifically said that she was “concerned” that the tour’s “rhetoric” could contribute to violent and unlawful conduct.

She ended the letter by telling the tour and the church that they are “therefore instructed to take all necessary steps to ensure that the event complies fully” with applicable law.

Cornerstone Pastor Paul Doyle said the letter made his small town, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial congregation feel intimidated.

Despite James’s efforts to intimidate free speech rather than protect it, the event saw around 3,500 attendees come and enjoy the presentation that carried on without any issues.