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Judge says yes, Trump can be sued. Trump Foundation lawsuit continues

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donald trump
President
Donald Trump speaks to reporters following his teleconference
with troops from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.,
Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018.

Associated
Press/Susan Walsh


  • The lawsuit filed against President Donald Trump, the Donald
    J. Trump Foundation, and his children Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump,
    and Donald Trump Jr., alleging misuse of charity funds, will move
    forward.
  • Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the New York State Supreme Court
    issued a ruling on Friday, rejecting the notion that President
    Trump cannot face a suit while in office.
  • Lawyers for the Trump Foundation made several arguments to
    get the case dismissed, including on the grounds that “a sitting
    president could not be sued,” according to the 27-page ruling.
  • The suit, as described in Friday’s ruling, alleges the
    “misuse of charitable assets and self-dealing” and that “the
    Foundation and its board members have transacted business
    illegally and abusively over a number of years.”

The
lawsuit filed
against President Donald Trump, the Donald J.
Trump Foundation, and his children Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and
Donald Trump Jr., alleging misuse of charity funds, is allowed to
move forward.

Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the New York State Supreme Court
issued a ruling on Friday, allowed the lawsuit to proceed and
rejected the notion that President Trump cannot face such legal
action while in office.

Lawyers for the Trump Foundation made several arguments to get
the case dismissed, including on the grounds that “a sitting
president could not be sued,” according to the 27-page ruling.

However, Judge Scarpulla, citing decisions in Clinton v.
Jones
and Zervos v. Trump, stated that she did have
jurisdiction and allowed the case to move forward.

The lawsuit was initially filed in June by the New York State
Attorney General Barbara Underwood. The suit, as described in
Friday’s ruling, alleges the “misuse of charitable assets and
self-dealing” and that “the Foundation and its board members have
transacted business illegally and abusively over a number of
years.” The New York attorney general’s office is arguing that
Trump, the foundation, Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Eric violated both
state and federal law.

Specific allegations include using charitable assests that mostly
consisted of outside donations to settle legal obligations,
“purchase personal items,” and “advance Mr. Trump’s presidential
election.”


The Washington Post
initially dug into the financials of the
Trump Foundation during the campaign in 2016.

The New York Attorney General’s office then began its
investigation, initially under former Attorney General Eric
Schneiderman (a Trump antagonist). Schneiderman
resigned in May of 2018
after multiple women accused him of
abuse. Underwood took over the investigation and filed the suit
in June.


Read more:

Trump lashes out at Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts
after he reminded the president that judges are supposed to be
independent

The suit seeks to dissolve the foundation, bar Trump from heading
a charitable organization for a decade, bar Ivanka, Eric, and
Donald Jr. from leading a nonprofit for a year, and obtain
recompense of $2.8 million plus penalties.

Following the initial suit, Trump lashed out on Twitter,
suggesting that it was political and vowing “I won’t settle this
case!”

A statement from the foundation called the suit, “politics at its
very worst.”

“The Foundation has donated over $19 million to worthy charitable
causes — more than it even received,” a spokesperson for the
Trump Foundation said back in June. “The President himself — or
through his companies — has contributed more than $8 million. The
reason the Foundation was able to donate more than it took in is
because it had little to no expenses. This is unheard of for a
charitable foundation.”

On Friday, lawyer for the Trump Foundation Alan Futerfas said,
“The decision means only that the case goes forward. As we have
maintained throughout, all of the money raised by the Foundation
went to charitable causes to assist those most in need. As a
result, we remain confident in the ultimate outcome of these
proceedings.”

INSIDER contacted the Trump Organization for comment.

A statement from AG Underwood’s office said, “We welcome Justice
Scarpulla’s decision, which allows our suit to move forward.”

“As we detailed in our petition earlier, the Trump Foundation
functioned as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s
business and political interests,” the statement continued.
“There are rules that govern private foundations — and we intend
to enforce them, no matter who runs the foundation.”

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