Lawsuits over Trump business threaten to tie up presidency
Jan 12, 2017 12:24 PM EST
It is hardly likely to change when Donald Trump -who is a businessman that has kept the courts busy, enters the White House, creating an unusual and potentially serious problem for a sitting president. Only several U.S presidents have undergone legal depositions during their terms and Trump is most likely bound to join that small club.
As of January, the President-elect sat for a deposition in a lawsuit involving his Washington hotel, and some other legal disputes that are to proceed after his Inauguration Day. Plus, he is also under investigation of an accusation using his charity for personal benefits by New York attorney general.
Trump also has left open possibility whether he will keep not only an ownership interest, but the legal liability that accompanies it when he said he will turn over management of his company to his adult sons. This could leave him vulnerable to more possible lawsuits, including those who are financed by deep-pocketed political opponents who could use the courts as a battlefield to fight his administration, according to legal experts.
According to Obama administration chief White House ethics counsellor Norman Eisen, Trump is going to be not just a litigation magnet, but also litigation vortex that will draw in every political and personal adversary he has. Eisen has encouraged Trump to sell his assets and put the money in a blind trust in order to prevent conflict of interest.
Trump can't be sued over official acts in the Oval Office under constitutional immunity protections. However he could be named in lawsuits for actions that involving his businesses. Given the sprawling nature of his business -the Trump Organization, the danger for Trump is indeed heightened, as reported by AP.
Trump paid $25 million in the weeks after the election, to settle three lawsuits alleging Trump University misled students into paying as much as $35,000 a year for instruction of little value. The president-elect explained that he was only settling so he could focus on the presidency and that he did nothing wrong.
Alan Garten, general counsel for Trump Organization said that the company is not more vulnerable to paying judgements to plaintiffs, and defended Trump by explaining that he wasn't worried about future legal attacks funded by political opponents. According to Garten, people will only be wasting their time.