In Phoenix, attorneys are challenging Donald Trump’s team for its decision to hire a team of defense lawyers in an effort to defend the president in a lawsuit over his response to the Orlando mass shooting.
Trump’s lawyers say their legal team is comprised of former Arizona Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, former Arizona state Supreme Court Judge William B. McKeon, former US attorneys Steven Nissl and Michael Maki, former federal prosecutor Robert E. Wittenberg, and retired Arizona Supreme Judge Robert L. Kelly.
They argue that they are not entitled to compensation from Trump, who has called the legal team “crooks” and “frauds.”
The lawyers are asking a federal judge in Phoenix to issue an injunction requiring Trump’s attorneys to provide the court with all documents, emails and other communications with the Trump team, including any communications between the lawyers and Trump.
The lawsuit was filed by the attorneys representing Trump’s brother, Donald Trump Jr., who said the lawyers are a group of “scumbags.”
The lawsuit is not the first one to be filed by Arizona attorneys challenging Trump’s legal team.
A similar case was filed in July against Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who is also an attorney.
Trump has denied the lawsuit.
In his statement Monday, Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said the lawsuit is a “disgrace” and a “travesty.”
“The Trump administration and its lawyers have been attacking the integrity of our judiciary and our justice system for years.
They are a disgrace to Arizona,” Sessions said.
“They have been engaged in a sustained effort to discredit and defame the Arizona Supreme Judicial Court, and it is a disgrace for our Attorney General to join in this shameful attack on the people of Arizona.”
A spokeswoman for the attorney general said in a statement that “any effort to undermine the judiciary is offensive and is a violation of our separation of powers.”
“Attorney General Sessions will not be deterred by the frivolous, partisan attacks that are being waged against him and the integrity and integrity of the courts,” the spokeswoman said.
In response to Trump’s lawsuit, Kelly told ABC News in a tweet, “I think it is unfortunate that this kind of stuff has to be put in the papers, but I am also confident in our ability to defend our legal system, especially when it comes to President Trump.”
A source familiar with the matter said Kelly would not be commenting on the lawsuit until after he takes office.
In a statement Monday night, Stevens, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President George W. Bush, said he is not participating in the lawsuit and did not have any involvement in its formation.
He said he had no idea about the lawsuit, and that his client is “happy to defend his client against this frivolous attack.”
A spokesman for Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Trump legal team filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Trump family in November.
“This is about protecting the people’s right to decide what to believe and what not to believe,” the statement said.
The suit alleges that the lawyers acted in violation of the Constitution’s separation of church and state by joining the Trump campaign.
It alleges that Trump, Lewandowski and others made disparaging comments about Stevens, accusing him of being a “racist” and an “unconstitutional communist” who was “anti-Christian.”
The attorneys have also said the Trump administration, which has called for Trump to release his tax returns, had no right to investigate Stevens because he is an elected judge.
Trump and Lewandowski have denied the accusations.
The Associated Press reported Monday that Trump had filed a $100,000 lawsuit against Stevens, alleging that the former Arizona attorney had falsely represented himself as a supporter of President Barack Obama.
The attorneys are also seeking a court order preventing the president from firing or otherwise disciplining Stevens.
The AP first reported the lawsuit Monday.