Emoluments Case Against Trump Gets Legal Victory

Judge is allowing lawsuit to move forward
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2018 3:25 PM CDT
Judge Allows Emoluments Suit Against Trump to Move Forward
President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One, Sunday, March 25, 2018, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

An emoluments lawsuit against President Trump is moving forward after a federal judge ruled Wednesday that attorneys general from Maryland and Washington DC have legal standing to proceed, the AP reports. According to the Washington Post, it's the first time such a lawsuit has ever made it past its first legal test. Two other emoluments lawsuits were tossed by a judge in New York in December, CNN reports. Attorneys general Karl Racine and Brian Frosh accuse Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by receiving illegal gifts from foreign governments via the Trump Organization.

While Judge Peter Messitte of the US District Court of Maryland is allowing the lawsuit to move forward, he's limiting its scope to just the Trump International Hotel in DC, excluding Mar-a-Lago and other properties. The lawsuit accuses Trump International of getting special tax concessions and having a competitive advantage over other hotels. Messitte noted that foreign governments have moved their business from other DC hotels to the "President's Hotel." He ruled that Trump's other properties are too far away to have any financial impact on Maryland or DC. While Messitte did not rule on the allegations themselves, he did reject an argument from the Trump camp that only Congress can decide if a president has violated the Emoluments Clause. (More Emoluments Clause stories.)

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