A video of Donald Trump’s court testimony in the ongoing lawsuit against CZ-National, a company owned by celebrity chef and Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian, was released to the public on Friday, and appeared on BuzzFeed. The release of the videos will shine even more unflattering light onto the Republican nominee for president, revealing his litigious nature.
Trump filed a lawsuit against CZ-National when the managing chefs decided to pull out of opening a restaurant at Trump’s new Washington D.C. Post Office hotel. Chefs Zarkarian and Jose Andres withdrew from the project following Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans when announcing his run for the White House in June 2015. Both chefs claimed that the GOP hopeful’s racist rhetoric would damage their reputations and brands.
As reported in the National Law Journal, Donald Trump was asked to sit for a deposition, a move that his lawyers tried to block.
Zakarian and Andres are being sued by Trump for breaking the contract, but the celebrity chefs are countersuing, as reported in The Washington Business Journal, because Trump has “impaired tenant’s right to receive the fruits of the sublease.”
‘Mr. Trump’s comments would inevitably affect the customer base as well, given that high-income customers – immigrants and non-immigrants, Hispanics and non-Hispanics – were refusing to patronize establishments associated with Mr. Trump.’
Release of the video from the June 2016 deposition has been requested by a number of news agencies and media outlets, including CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and BuzzFeed. Although the transcripts have been available to the public, according to POLITICO, Trump’s lawyers have requested that the video of the deposition, as well as those taken during the depositions of his children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, be sealed. The videos were inaccessible, as they were filed directly with the judge’s chambers. The court docketing system also doesn’t not allow for video exhibits.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman ordered the video deposition to be released on Thursday night, saying that the Trump campaign’s fears that the excerpts of the video might show up in campaign ads were not a legitimate excuse for keeping them sealed.
Judge Holeman said:
‘This Court finds that Plaintiff has not demonstrated that any subject video deposition contains scandalous, libelous, or other unduly prejudicial material warranting denial of media access. The public shall not be held captive by the suggested eventuality of partisan editing in a manner unfavorable to Plaintiff or the deponents.”‘
The same judge rejected filed motions from both Trump and Zakarian last week, with Trump’s lawyers saying that the GOP nominee’s comments made during a political campaign could not be interpreted legally as a breach of contract. Zakarian’s team claimed that Trump’s racist remarks made the site of the new restaurant untenable, and that it would negatively impact both the business and staffing.
Judge Holeman said the case will need to go to trial, as there were too many factual issues to be resolved. Holeman also stated that this case would be different from others being filed against Trump, because there will be no jury to influence by the release of the deposition video. Holeman stated:
‘Here, in the absence of a jury trial, any concerns of undue prejudice arising from selection of jurors are baseless.’
Trump is also suing prominent chef Jose Andres, who also backed out of contract to open a restaurant at the same location. As both chefs have backed out of providing an in-house restaurant at the new Post Office hotel, a BLT Prime steakhouse has been installed, in their place.
Videos courtesy of Daily News:
Featured image via screencap from the video