Court reinstates lawsuit over Trump's hotel profits

15 Mai, 2020, 00:31 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Mark Tenally  AP

The case will now return to a judge in Maryland, who has consistently ruled against Trump on preliminary legal questions, for further proceedings.

A federal appeals court revived the lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of illegally profiting off the presidency through his Washington, D.C. hotel.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause says no individual holding office can accept a present "of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State" without the approval of Congress.

The decision by the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sitting as a whole - reversing a ruling in favor of Trump last July by a three-judge panel of the same court - marked a victory for the Democratic attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia who brought the lawsuit. In a 9-6 ruling, the court's decision opens up the president's business to financial scrutiny in an election year.

"We recognize that [D.C. and Maryland] press novel legal claims".

"Given this history, we can hardly conclude that the president's preferred definition of this obscure word is clearly and indisputably the correct one", Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote on behalf of the court.

If the U.S. Supreme Court takes the case, the arguments could potentially take place this fall, right at the peak of presidential campaign. Trump has retained ownership in his family company, though his two oldest sons now run it.

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The emoluments case centers on the president's hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest Washington, where foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, have booked rooms and events since Trump entered the White House.

Trump's Justice Department lawyers say the president is not violating the emoluments clauses because the language bars only payments in exchange for official action or as part of an employment relationship.

But the subpoenas have been on hold pending the outcome of the president's appeal. "But Congress and the Supreme Court have severely limited our ability to grant the extraordinary relief the president seeks". The drop in business prompted the Trump Organization to inquire with its government landlord, the General Services Administration, and its lender, Deutsche Bank, about how to proceed given the hotel's lack of revenue.

However, there is ample damage that cannot be repaired inflicted on the world by Trump, including the deadly pandemic sweeping the globe, an economic disaster that could surpass the Great Depression, and the continuing climate crisis, wealth disparities and nuclear proliferation.

Another appeals court in Washington in February dismissed a separate lawsuit by Democratic U.S. lawmakers also alleging violations of the emoluments clauses relating to the hotel. Trump's downtown Washington hotel, which occupies a building leased from the federal government, has been at the epicenter of the ethics disputes around the president.

Frosh and Racine have said a sale to an entity other than a state or foreign government would be the end of their case.



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