cloudyn.png
Sunday December 8th, 2019 7:28PM

US appeals court sides with Trump in lawsuit involving hotel

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court threw out a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of illegally profiting off the presidency through his luxury Washington hotel, handing Trump a significant legal victory Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned the ruling of a federal judge in Maryland who said the lawsuit could move forward.

The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia sued in 2017, claiming Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting profits through foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The case is one of three that argue the president is violating the provision, which prohibits federal officials from accepting benefits from foreign or state governments without congressional approval.

In the case before the 4th Circuit, the court found the two jurisdictions lack standing to pursue their claims against the president, and granted a petition for a rare writ of mandamus, directing U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte to dismiss the lawsuit.

Trump heralded the decision in a tweet, saying, "Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt." Trump tweeted that he doesn't make money but loses "a fortune" by serving as president.

Trump's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, called the decision "a complete victory."

"We are pleased that the Fourth Circuit unanimously decided to dismiss this extraordinarily flawed case," Department of Justice spokeswoman Kelly Laco said in a statement.

During oral arguments before the panel in March, lawyers for Maryland and the District said Trump's status as president is a driving factor for foreign and domestic government officials to stay at his hotel.

Just blocks from the White House, the iconic Old Post Office quickly became a hot spot for lobbyists and foreign officials after it reopened in October 2016 as the Trump International Hotel. A public relations firm working for Saudi Arabia spent nearly $270,000 on food and rooms. The Philippine and Kuwaiti embassies have also had parties there.

Maryland and the District claim they have suffered harm because more people would stay at hotels in their jurisdictions if they weren't eager to curry favor with the president by staying at his hotel.

The court, however, wrote that Maryland and the District's "interest in enforcing the Emoluments Clauses is so attenuated and abstract that their prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the President is an appropriate use of the courts."

Trump's legal team had argued that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine — both Democrats — lack authority to sue the president in his official capacity. Trump's lawyers also argued that the emoluments clause only bars compensation made in connection with services provided in his official capacity or in "an employment-type relationship" with a foreign or domestic government.

The 4th Circuit's decision to hear the unusual mid-case appeal put the lawsuit on hold before deadlines to respond to subpoenas issued in December seeking tax returns, receipts and other records from more than 30 entities, including 13 Trump businesses and the federal agency that oversees the lease for Trump's hotel.

Racine and Frosh said in a joint statement that they would not abandon their efforts.

"Although the court described a litany of ways in which this case is unique, it failed to acknowledge the most extraordinary circumstance of all: President Trump is brazenly profiting from the Office of the President in ways that no other President in history ever imagined and that the founders expressly sought — in the Constitution — to prohibit," the attorneys general said.

Racine has previously said that if the panel ruled against Maryland and the District, the legal team would seriously consider asking for a rehearing before the full 4th Circuit. He has also said it wouldn't surprise him if the case ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

All three judges on the panel were nominated by Republican presidents: Paul Niemeyer, by George H.W. Bush; Dennis Shedd, by George W. Bush, and A. Marvin Quattlebaum, by Trump.

A similar case brought by nearly 200 congressional Democrats in the District of Columbia's federal court also deals with the idea that Trump is using the presidency for his personal profit, but that case is uniquely different in that the Congress is specifically mentioned in the emoluments clause itself. On Monday, the Justice Department petitioned for a writ of mandamus in the D.C. appeals court and asked for a stay on the 37 subpoenas issued in that case.

___

Associated Press writers Tami Abdollah in Washington and Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Powell signals that rate cut could be coming soon
Powell sends strong signal that Fed is prepared to cut rates in light of rising uncertainties
11:38AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Fans cheer World Cup champs as leaders on and off the field
Adoring fans lined New York City's Canyon of Heroes on Wednesday to praise the World Cup-winning U.S. women's national soccer team as athletic leaders on the field _ and as advocates for pay equity off it
11:26AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Rip Torn of 'Larry Sanders Show,' 'Men in Black,' dies at 88
Publicist says award-winning television, film and theater actor Rip Torn has died at the age of 88
11:06AM ( 39 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Powell signals that rate cut could be coming soon
Powell sends strong signal that Fed is prepared to cut rates in light of rising uncertainties
11:38AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Fans cheer World Cup champs as leaders on and off the field
Adoring fans lined New York City's Canyon of Heroes on Wednesday to praise the World Cup-winning U.S. women's national soccer team as athletic leaders on the field _ and as advocates for pay equity off it
11:26AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Rip Torn of 'Larry Sanders Show,' 'Men in Black,' dies at 88
Publicist says award-winning television, film and theater actor Rip Torn has died at the age of 88
11:06AM ( 39 minutes ago )
The Latest: US soccer team parades up Canyon of Heroes
Fans of the World Cup champion U.S. women's soccer team are gathered at City Hall in New York for a ceremony where Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio will give the players symbolic keys to the city
10:48AM ( 58 minutes ago )
Financier in sex abuse case went from math whiz to titan
Jeffrey Epstein, facing sex-trafficking charges, has long been an enigma, his rags-to-riches ascent shrouded in mystery
10:36AM ( 1 hour ago )