A civil lawsuit from the office of D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) against the Trump family business and the committee that handled Trump’s inauguration is moving forward, a new report from The Daily Beast explains. The lawsuit is over alleged corruption within the operations of that inaugural committee, which spent large sums of money on booking event space from Trump’s own company. That money, therefore, went straight into the then-incoming president’s own business — and the prices were high. As summarized by a report from The Washington Post, Racine alleges that the inaugural committee spent “more than $1 million to book a ballroom at Trump’s D.C. hotel that its staff knew was overpriced and that it barely used.”
This month, the case that Racine has brought against certain Trump-aligned interests was forced into mediation, but mediation failed. “Investigators are dead set on seeing this case through to the very end,” The Daily Beast says, based on remarks from a source — so these investigators had no interest in a conclusive, out-of-court end to the case. It seems safe to suspect that the Trump side itself wasn’t exactly interested in a meaningful and reality-acknowledging resolution to the case to begin with. Either way, the case is therefore continuing to move forward.
Meanwhile, Racine has requested what’s known as a summary judgment from local D.C. Judge José M. López, who is handling the proceedings, arguing that the evidence that his office has presented has already conclusively shown the strong foundation for their case. It’s not yet clear whether López will agree with this assessment, while Racine’s team is also hoping for permission from the judge to question certain individuals like longtime Trump ally Allen Weisselberg. At one point, Weisselberg reviewed the finances of the inaugural committee, despite the fact that he works and has worked at the Trump business — not the committee. Weisselberg’s involvement in what happened might bolster the idea that the committee was used to funnel money towards Trump’s own interests, although the inaugural committee was supposed to be a non-profit organization.
Notably, Trump ally Tom Barrack — who chaired the inaugural committee — was recently arrested and criminally charged in an unrelated case. Barrack stands accused of having secretly lobbied the Trump team on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, and covert lobbying along these lines for foreign interests is illegal in the United States. It’s unclear whether Barrack’s case could pose a problem for the D.C. proceedings — Racine’s team already interviewed him late last year, at which point he claimed that he hadn’t been “involved in the Trump family’s initial selection of venues,” The Daily Beast summarizes.