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Trump U

New documents complicate Donald Trump pay-to-play allegations in Florida

The Trump Organization has acknowledged that it erred in cutting a $25,000 check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to a political fund supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) during her 2013 re-election campaign, and Trump has paid the foundation back plus a $2,500 fine to the IRS. This donation has prompted an inquiry from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D). But new documents "at least partly undercut" the other allegation from this transaction, The New York Times reports, namely that Trump used the improper and misreported donation to convince Bondi not to join Schneiderman's fraud lawsuit against Trump University.

The timeline is as follows: Schneiderman announced his Trump U fraud suit on Aug. 25, 2013; a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel asked Bondi's communications director if Bondi was considering joining that suit on Aug. 29, setting off a flurry of internal emails; the Trump Foundation's check to Bondi is dated Sept. 9; the Sentinel reported that Bondi is considering joining the New York suit on Sept. 13; on Sept. 17, the check arrived at the political action committee in Tampa; and in mid-October, Bondi's office says it won't be suing Trump University. Bondi had solicited a donation from Trump "in late summer 2013," The Times reports.

The new documents don't exonerate Bondi — who allowed Trump to throw her a big fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago a few months after Trump's earlier donation had raised red flags in Florida — or Trump, who has frequently bragged about buying off politicians. But it does suggest that proving quid pro quo would be difficult in court. You can read more about the new wrinkle at The New York Times.