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Bondi, who's poised to join Trump at a presidential campaign rally in Tampa on Saturday, was upset by news accounts implying that she dropped an investigation into Trump's education program because of the contribution. "I never, nor was my office, investigating him. Never. I would never lie. I would never take money. I've been obviously devastated over this," Bondi said in a voicemail message to a Times/Herald reporter. In a separate statement, Bondi called Monday's Associated Press report on the Trump University issue "misleading," adding: "No one in my office ever opened an investigation of Trump University, nor was there a basis for doing so." The AP account said Bondi "nixed" suing Trump, but it did not say that she had opened an investigation. Bondi's spokesman, Whitney Ray, told the Times/Herald that Assistant Attorney General Mark Hamilton reviewed the "few complaints" the office had on file about Trump University and made the "rightful determination" that because New York's lawsuit was on behalf of all consumers nationwide, "no further action need be taken."
Owens said he was so surprised at the order to stand down he made a copy of the case file and took it home.
“It had to be political in my mind because Donald Trump was treated differently than any other similarly situated scam artist in the 16 years I was at the consumer protection office,” said Owens, who lives in Houston.
Owens’ boss at the time was Greg Abbott, then the attorney general and now the state’s GOP governor.
The AP first reported that Trump gave donations totaling $35,000 to Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign three years after his office closed the Trump U case. Several Texas media outlets then reported Owens’ accusation that the probe was dropped for political reasons.