D.C. Lawsuit Against Trump Family Business Is Going To Trial

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D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine (D) has prevailed in his attempt to get the Trump Organization added back to a lawsuit brought by his team over around $1 million in unethically spent funds from the committee that handled Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration back in 2017. D.C. Superior Court Judge José M. López had previously removed the Trump Organization from the case on the basis of the argument that Gentry Beach — who was involved in reserving a block of hotel rooms around the time of Trump’s inauguration that the Trump company eventually got the inaugural committee to pay off — didn’t have the authorization to act on behalf of the Trump family business regarding the hotel bookings. Racine, though, has not gotten to question Beach.

Besides remaining questions that Beach himself could answer, The Daily Beast adds that “Don Jr., Ivanka, and other staffers at the [Trump] company’s New York office were on a ton of the paperwork” — so the notion that the Trump Organization can escape accountability for the hotel room debacle and related matters doesn’t exactly hold up. The committee that handled Trump’s 2017 inauguration was, on paper, a non-profit entity, but huge sums of its money went directly into the now-ex-president’s own business, although the reservations with which Beach was involved were elsewhere. As previously summarized by The Washington Post, the inaugural committee spent that around $1 million at Trump’s D.C. hotel although Racine “said that the inaugural committee was offered rented spaces at other venues at lower costs, or even free.” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a then-friend to Melania Trump and a key figure in event planning surrounding the inauguration, identified herself as a “lead witness” for Racine’s case as it now heads to trial.

The judge who granted Racine this new victory concluded that it had been “erroneous for the court to rule against the district based on the district’s failure to depose… Mr. Beach… when the Court had [withheld] ruling on the district’s request to conduct that very discovery.” Racine touted the news on Twitter, saying that his “lawsuit is moving forward fully intact & full steam ahead.” As he also explained on Twitter: “We sued the inaugural committee for misusing funds to enrich the Trump family. Now we’re going to trial.”

Elsewhere in the legal system, Racine has also brought a hefty civil lawsuit against the violent, far-right groups known as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, along with a slew of relatively high-profile individuals involved with both organizations. Racine launched this court action over the defendants’ roles in last year’s attack on the Capitol, and accordingly, he is seeking monetary damages from those he’s targeting, with the funds meant to cover expenses incurred by local authorities stemming from the Capitol violence. The lawsuit cites the Ku Klux Klan Act, something that’s repeatedly come up in litigation related to the riot. In short, that law forbids the use of threats or force to impede the exercise of certain civil rights. Racine said that his lawsuit is geared towards obtaining “full restitution and recompense” for Washington, D.C., following the riot, adding: “I think the damages are substantial… If it so happens that it bankrupts or puts these individuals and entities in financial peril, so be it.”