Commercial affairs counsel to President Donald Trump has become a target of criticism after he took aim Wednesday at a New York law firm that represents his businesses in a lawsuit.
J.W. Morris, the lawyer who is now the target of legal attacks for his role as a campaign adviser, is a partner at Jones Day, which specializes in commercial affairs, in a Manhattan federal courtroom.
He told The New York Times he was surprised to learn about the lawsuit, saying it was “an extremely serious matter.”
Morris, who is not a lawyer and was not a target in the litigation, told The Times he had not spoken with the president or his family since the litigation began.
In court documents filed Wednesday, lawyers for the president and his two eldest sons, Eric and Donald Jr., called Morris a “suspect in the matter.”
They accused him of violating a New Mexico law prohibiting commercial dealings with foreign governments and of misrepresenting his role during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to the Times.
The lawsuit filed by the Trump Organization and its president and general counsel, Jeffrey Eisenach, is part of a $2 billion lawsuit that also includes claims from other Trump businesses.
Morris is the only person to take the case as a matter of law.
The suit is part the larger Trump family defamation case, in which his businesses have also been accused of violating New Mexico’s anti-defamation law.
Trump’s legal team has said the lawsuit was not about the president’s role in politics but rather that he had engaged in a campaign of false statements.
Morris said Wednesday he is confident that the president is innocent.
“I believe that Mr. Trump was innocent,” Morris said.
Morris did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Mashable.
Trump, in his own statement Wednesday, said he had no knowledge of the litigation.
He said his attorney “is a very capable attorney who is a very loyal friend of mine and a wonderful person, and I look forward to working with him as we work to defend the interests of the American people.”
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in his dealings with Morris and his law firm.
Morris has said he has no ties to the Trump family.
In December 2016, Morris told the Times that Trump would be able to get away with it.
“The president has the power to say whatever he wants, and he has the ability to say it anywhere he wants,” Morris told The Washington Post at the time.