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Court of Appeal Suspends Trial for Trump Hotel Profits


RICHMOND, Go. (AP) – Financial records of President Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington can be kept, a Federal Court of Appeal said Thursday, while Trump requests the United States Supreme Court to hear an appeal in a trial accusing him of illegal profit outside the presidency.

The decision of the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond means that the records sought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia are unlikely to be released until the November elections.

The two jurisdictions filed a lawsuit in 2017, alleging that Trump had violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting profits through foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International hotel.

In May, the 4th Circuit relaunched the trial, ruling that a panel of three court judges had overstepped its authority by ordering a judge of the United States district court to dismiss the trial.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District Attorney General Karl Racine – both Democrats – hoped that the decision would revive their efforts to obtain financial documents showing how much the state and foreign governments have paid for the Trump Organization to stay at the hotel and organize events there. The two jurisdictions sent summonses to various government agencies in late 2018, but they were stayed while Trump’s appeal was pending before the 4th circuit.

On Thursday, the court agreed to extend the break on the trial – including subpoena – while the US Department of Justice is appealing the decision to the United States Supreme Court.

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In a file filed last month, DOJ lawyers argued that the subpoenas are “intrusive and compelling”.

“If the stay is not extended, the president would suffer irreparable harm because this unprecedented and potentially sprawling lawsuit would be allowed to continue and the plaintiffs could plunder his personal finances only because of the position he occupies,” said writes DOJ lawyers. in the file.

Justice Department has until mid-October to file a petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, making it unlikely that the financial records sought in the trial will be available before the election November.

Frosh and Racine expressed disappointment that their trial remains on hold while the case is appealed to the Supreme Court.

“We are disappointed that we cannot resume discovery immediately due to President Trump’s delay tactics. We want to find out the truth about President Trump’s constitutional violations and that is what the President is trying to prevent, “they said in a statement.

The hotel, a few blocks from the White House, quickly became a hot spot for lobbyists and foreign officials after it reopened in 2016 shortly before Trump’s election as president.

The attorneys general argued in the trial that hotels in their jurisdictions suffered “competitive harm” because officials hoping to gain the president’s favor were more likely to stay in his hotel.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that the fee clause only prohibits compensation made in connection with services provided in its official capacity or in “a job-like relationship” with a foreign or national government.

The lawsuit is one of many accusations against Trump of illegally taking advantage of the presidency through his commercial interests.

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Source: AP News

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